Now England A team leaves BCCI stumped

FP

As England stole a march over India on spin in Mumbai last week, another English side may have been quietly getting there a short distance away. Since November 20, the England Lions, the 'A' team equivalent of the English Test side, have been playing, practising, and in turn "acclimatising", at the D Y Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai. The BCCI has now written a letter to the Mumbai Cricket Association asking how this happened.

In an attempt to give the touring English Test side minimal exposure to spinners, the national selectors had picked no slow bowler in the India A team for its game against them. The wickets rolled out for all the three practice games were also not spinner-friendly.

Top BCCI officials believe that Craig Kieswetter, part of the ODI squad, and Jos Buttler, who is in the English T20 team, are getting valuable exposure to the conditions by being allowed to play practice matches as part of the England Lions at the D Y Patil Stadium.

MCA joint secretary Nitin Dalal confirmed that the BCCI had sought an explanation. "After we received the letter from the BCCI about why the England Lions are being hosted at the D Y Patil Stadium, we asked the D Y Patil authorities to reply," Dalal said. The quality of the opposition that England Lions had been provided for the practice games is also queried in the letter.

Incidentally, at the BCCI's general body meeting in September, it was decided that no state association should host a foreign team. In a letter to all state associations conveying this, BCCI president N Srinivasan advised that members "not entertain any foreign teams without the prior permission of the board".

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