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India A lose four-day game against England Lions

Rishabh Pant scores successive half-centuries

After winning the one-day tri-series and the four-day series against West Indies A, India A suffered a defeat in their final game of the England Tour. Facing hosts England Lions, India A lost the unofficial Test by 253 runs.

While nothing went right on the final day with India A resuming on a precarious 11/3 before being wrapped up for 167, performances of vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane and young wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant were major gains. Having received his maiden Test call-up for the upcoming five-match series against England, Pant top scored for the visitors with knocks of 58 and 61.

Rahane and Pant, batting at six and seven respectively put on a fight. The two got going and put on a 54-run stand. In his knock of 48 off 70 balls, Rahane hit eight fours before getting out. During his 87-minute stay at the wicket, Pant hit seven boundaries and two sixes. Both Rahane and Pant were dismissed by off spinner Dom Bess.

Earlier, Alastair Cook put England Lions in a strong position with his innings of 180 off 268 balls. He batted for 408 minutes in the first innings that allowed the hosts to put on an imposing total of 423 runs. Looking to get the feel of English conditions early, M Vijay took part in the game but was out for eight in the first innings and could not open his account in his second outing.

Young Prithvi Shaw made an entertaining half-century (62 off 82) but like Vijay, was out without opening his account in the second innings. India A captain Karun Nair who is also in the Test squad made four and 13.

Among the bowlers, Mohammed Siraj picked 4/79 and 3/55. Shahbaz Nadeem had picked up three wickets in the first innings and took one in the second.

Brief scores: England Lions 423 and 194 for 5 (Malan 56, Pope 50*) beat India A 197 (Shaw 62, Pant 58, Curran 5-43) and 167 (Pant 61, Rahane 48) by 253 runs.


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Important to maintain the right mindset throughout – Virat Kohli

The Indian captain believes India have the right balance to trump England in their home conditions.

Virat Kohli has been emphasizing on having the right intent during a tour for a very long time now. His first media conference on the eve of the first T20I was in sync with what the Indian captain has been pressing on, the right intent. 

He was calm, composed and when asked whether the Indian team was ready for a stern test by England who have just washed out Australia 6-0 in white ball cricket, he responded saying, “In T20 cricket the wickets are going to be something that provides entertainment to the crowd, so there’s no one team that has an advantage in this format. I feel anyone who plays well on that particular day has a better chance of winning. We expect England to come hard at us. We certainly want to play positive and hard-fought cricket. It is going to be an exciting series and we believe that we have the side to put up a great fight. If we win crucial moments, anything can happen on the day. In T20 cricket, you don’t have second chances but we are pretty confident as a side.”

When asked about the importance of this bilateral series with the T20 World Cup two years away, Virat promptly responded saying, “This has been spoken in the past as well. Few teams have said, it has been inconsequential... I would agree to that if it happens at the fag end of the tour. At the start of any tour any games you get to play, you are as excited as the other team. And, you don’t feel like there’s no point of playing these games, especially when you are playing a strong side like England, who are playing good cricket, you have a chance to test yourself.

“With the major tournament away, it gives you an opportunity to test your bench strength, try out fringe players, test their characters as well. We are in that zone as well, we are certainly going to try a lot of cricketers as well in the T20 matches, test their characters, test their skills and work out accordingly who will be the next lot to come in, especially to the limited overs format.”

Virat has been lucid when it comes to talking of takeaways from any given tour and the kind of cricket he and his boys want to play. He is of the notion that India need to replicate the mindset and game, which they displayed in South Africa. Even though they lost the Test series 2-1, the boys came back stronger with a series win in both, ODIs and T20Is.

"Takeaway from this tour obviously will be the way we play our cricket and the mindset and the attitude that we maintain for the length of the tour that we are here. No one can guarantee results, but just wanting to win every session and every ball that we play, if we can carry that on for the length of the tour, I will be really proud as a captain and we will be really proud of ourselves as a team.

"This is what we did in South Africa till the last day of the tour: we continued the mindset from day one, even though we lost some games, but we knew we were in the games for us to be able to turn it around very quickly and that is why those results followed after."

Maintaining a right mindset through the tour is vital and the skipper felt that to make things candid, it is important to stay positive.
"If the mindset is not right after a few days or a couple of weeks then things can get more difficult, but if we can stay positive and enjoy each other's company and just look forward to being here for that period of time and just look forward to being on the field and play competitive cricket, I think we will be able to space it as a team and certainly take a lot from this tour when we go away."

When asked about the team combination India is looking to play in limited overs cricket with the 2019 World Cup less than a year away, the skipper promptly replied saying that we will try a lot of players in the shorter formats.

“In the ODIs, the middle order is something that we have been looking for and we have a few things that we want to try out and address there as well. So, this next phase is going to be really important to figure all those things out and have the best balance that we need going into that big tournament but that’s quite far away, but we have a vision for it.”

Rajlaxmi Arora
Rajlaxmi Arora

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