First batch of Indian players to leave for London on Tuesday; Kohli, Siraj to travel a day later

The first batch of Indian players, along with the support staff, will leave for London in the early hours of May 23 to prepare for the World Test Championship final against Australia, which will begin on June 7.

The players whose Indian Premier League assignments concluded by May 20 will be a part of the first travel group, which includes the likes of Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav, R Ashwin and Axar Patel. Virat Kohli and pacer Mohammed Siraj are expected to leave for London on May 24, it is learnt.

Kohli and Siraj played for the Royal Challengers Bangalore on Sunday and could not manage to make it to the playoffs in spite of the former captain’s blazing century. The Indian Express understands Kohli will fly with his family early in the morning on May 24.

The players will be given a day off after their IPL gets over to be with their families before they leave for England. On Monday, Siraj flew to Hyderabad from Bangalore and will be joining the team later this week with the second batch of players.

It is learnt that the selectors have decided to send Aniket Chaudhary and Akash Deep as net bowlers. Another player who was chosen by the selectors to accompany the team as a net bowler was Mumbai and Chennai Super Kings pacer Tushar Deshpande. However, with CSK qualifying for the playoffs, Deshpande won’t be travelling to London.

Cheteshwar Pujara, who is already playing county cricket for Sussex, will be joining the Indian team on May 26. Pujara spent its summer playing for Sussex and has been in good form.

Earlier, the Indian team management had expressed concerns over what it perceives as a lack of preparation for the WTC final. It is learnt that the team’s support staff has individually spoken to players and checked their fitness status. They also wanted to know whether the selected Indian players had managed to practice with the red ball during the Indian Premier League.

However, players expressed their helplessness and communicated that they haven’t been getting adequate time for separate sessions to prepare for the marquee Test against Australia.

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