Leicester: With an aim to bury the ghosts of a disastrous tour of 2011, a new-look Indian cricket team would be looking for a positive start to their two-and-a-half-month long tour of England when they take on Leicestershire in a three-day practice game, starting here Thursday.
The visitors, led by skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, reached London last weekend ahead of what will be a gruelling tour, including five back-to-back Tests, five ODIs and one T20 International.
India failed to register a single win in their last tour having lost the Test series 0-4, the five-match ODI series 0-3 and also the lone T20 International.
India suffered the humiliation last time in 2011 despite being equipped with seasoned campaigners like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and, of course, skipper Dhoni himself.
But with all of them missing this time, the onus will be on youngsters like Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara to hold fort.
Team India sneaked into the country almost unnoticed with most people either mesmerized by the ongoing FIFA World Cup in Brazil despite England’s poor showing there, or pre-occupied with their cricket team’s first-ever home series loss to Sri Lanka.
England’s series loss to Sri Lanka bodes well for Dhoni and his young squad and the hosts will be low on confidence going into the series.
While the usual noise accompanying an Indian team is missing, this team will not be devoid of eyeballs once they take the field against Leicestershire tomorrow.
The bigger comparison to the previous tour though lies in this well-planned run-in to the first Test at Nottingham on July 9. Not only do they practice here, but the Indians will also play Derbyshire in another three-day practice match (July 1-3) before finally heading to Trent Bridge.