It is the first game of the tour for the Indians as they take on Somerset in a three-day warm-up game at Taunton. The match will begin on Friday, July 15 and will be the only game that the Indians play before the start of the Test series.
India were jolted by the news that Virender Sehwag may not be fit enough to join them for the first couple of Tests at the very least, which will mean that the onus will be on the pair of Gautam Gambhir and Abhinav Mukund to get them going. While Gambhir has been around for a while, Mukund is a greenhorn, having played only three international games yet. This warm-up game will be a chance for him to get his feet moving against the swinging ball.
India will also welcome back Sachin Tendulkar into the fold, as he looks to get into the thick of the action. Yuvraj Singh also makes it back to the squad, but whether he will make it to the playing eleven here remains to be seen. The duo has not played cricket of any note since May 28, when the IPL ended.
The biggest news, however, is that Andrew Strauss will be turning up for Somerset in this game – despite being a Middlesex player. With runs at an average of only six in the series against Sri Lanka, the England captain will look to spend some time in the middle in this game.
However, it may not be as easy as it sounds given that he will be up against his nemesis, Zaheer Khan. Zaheer loves bowling to left-handed batsmen and has had the better of most. If the ball does a little in the first hour or so, Strauss will have it difficult. Of course, if he can make it through, then the confidence will gradually soar and this could be very good news for England.
The India versus Somerset game will begin at 11.00 am local time on each of the three days, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.