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ECB chief admits England’s preparation for India Test series was “not ideal”

ECB chief Tom Harrison has admitted that England’s preparation for their Test series against India “hasn’t been ideal”

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Tom Harrison, the chief executive of the ECB, has admitted that England ‘s preparation for their ongoing Test series against India was “not ideal”.

England’s players have not been able to play much red-ball cricket ahead of the series, with the majority playing the last first-class game two months ago in the second Test against New Zealand.

Four members of England’s current Test team, Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Curran and Moeen Ali, had not played a first-class game since February ahead of the India series.

The domestic schedule has come in for heavy criticism from fans and pundits alike, with the ECB marginalising the County Championship in favour of white-ball cricket and, chiefly, their new Hundred competition.



ECB chief Tom Harrison has admitted that England’s preparation for their Test series against India “hasn’t been ideal”
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Former England captains Michael Atherton and Michael Vaughan are among those to have criticised the ECB’s scheduling, with Atherton calling it “a joke” and Vaughan labelling it “silly”.

And in an interview with Atherton on Sky Sports, Harrison admitted that there “real issues with the schedule” and that “the preparation for this series hasn’t been ideal”.

Harrison went on to claim that “Covid issues” have played a big part in the scheduling problems this year.

However, the ECB have been marginalising first-class cricket for a number of years now, the issue has simply been exacerbated by Covid.









Harrison said: “We understand that there have been real issues with the schedule for many years. This is not a new issue that we are facing.

“The reality is that we have a group that is put together to examine the schedule. We have also, this year and last year, had to put the Covid overlay on this.

“It is not straightforward to run a section of a county competition against an international programme and keep everyone safe in a Covid environment and also guarantee the sanctity of those fixtures.









“We’ve fallen into the trap a couple of times this year with that at domestic level by losing a couple of county games and at the international game where we had to replace a one-day squad at late notice due to Covid issues.

“I think it’s impossible to separate the Covid argument from the schedule this year. We understand that starting a Test series in the early part of August without having an immediate set of County Championship cricket or four-day cricket in preparation is not ideal.

“But moving into this summer we have had ten rounds of County Championship cricket, we had a further two rounds in early July which has not been sufficient for people to feel prepared for this.









“We had to cancel the India-A tour in England because of similar concerns over the stresses and strains it was putting on our infrastructure, to ensure that everyone was safe and to ensure the integrity of this series and the integrity of the preparations of the England team and the India team.

“I don’t want people to underestimate the complexity of putting this season together and that one of the results of that has been that the preparation for this series hasn’t been ideal.”




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