England’s Abu Dhabi plans revealed as Brendon McCullum sends warning to India | Cricket

Ben Stokes and his men have left India for a short break after the end of the second Test in Visakhapatnam. England, who won the first Test in Hyderabad by 28 runs, incurred a 106-run defeat in the second match, thus leaving the five-match series perfectly poised at 1-1. The team will assemble in Abu Dhabi for a mid-tour rest with the Board of Control for Cricket in India having arranged a charter flight to facilitate the trip. The team will reach Rajkot, the venue for the third Test, on February 12 where England will train for two days. The third Test will begin on February 15.

England's Ben Duckett, Ben Stokes, Zak Frawley and Tom Hartley walk back to the pavilion (REUTERS)
England’s Ben Duckett, Ben Stokes, Zak Frawley and Tom Hartley walk back to the pavilion (REUTERS)

Head coach Brendon McCullum revealed that the team are unlikely to train in Abu Dhabi during the period of a break as the players aren’t expected to carry their respective cricket kits.

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However, only one player is certain to have his kit along with him, Dan Lawrence, who will appear for Desert Vipers in the ILT20 matches on Friday and Saturday, in a first-of-its-kind move in the middle of a series. Lawrence was added to the England squad as a replacement for Harry Brook.

“It will be pretty relaxed,” McCullum was quoted by The Telegraph. “There will not be a whole lot of training. The boys have worked incredibly hard in Abu Dhabi keeping in mind they all came here with a lot of cricket under their belt as well. We have had plenty of training days, two varying Test matches and this is an opportunity to step away from the heat of the battle.”

McCullum’s rugby-style warning to India

The former New Zealand cricketer promised that England would return to “drop the shoulder” – a familiar rugby expression, and aim to take a lead for the second time in the series against India.

“I was talking to Rahul Dravid [the India coach] and he mentioned all his boys are shooting home as well,” he said. “Home for us a little way away so we chose Abu Dhabi and we are going to enjoy the families. Then when we get to Rajkot, we drop the shoulder and go hard.

“We sit 1-1 which is a fair reflection that we’re in the contest. We’ve played some really good cricket over the last two Test matches. Yes we have come out on the wrong side of it here but we got it across the line in the first one. The conviction about how we go about it as strong as it ever has been.

“It is not good losing but we walk away saying we gave it a good crack in this Test match and India are deserved victors.”

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