India begin preparations for the first Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test in Nagpur
The Indian Test side, led by opener Rohit Sharma, on Friday began its preparations for the first Test against Australia starting from February 9 at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Nagpur.
Batters Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul and Suryakumar Yadav were among the first players pictured on social media accounts of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to have batting practice in the nets.
Ravindra Jadeja, who was deemed fit to feature in the series after playing a Ranji Trophy match for Saurashtra against Tamil Nadu, was also seen padding up and having a hit with the bat.
“#TeamIndia have begun their preparations for the Border Gavaskar Trophy ahead of the 1st Test in Nagpur,” said the caption from the BCCI’s social media accounts.
Australia, on the other hand, are currently training at the KSCA Cricket Ground in Alur, on the outskirts of Bengaluru, where they are practicing on custom-made wickets from Thursday, which they feel will be dished out for four matches in the series.
Australia and India, currently ranked number one and two respectively in both the MRF ICC Men’s Test Team Rankings and the ongoing ICC World Test Championship 2023 cycle, will meet in a highly-anticipates four-match series to be held in Nagpur, New Delhi, Dharamshala and Ahmedabad.
India are the current holder of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, having won the last three series against Australia in 2017, 2018-19 and 2020-21. India have hosted Australia in 14 Test series and hold an 8-4 lead, with two of the series being drawn.
Eight of these Test series in India have been played for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, with the hosts holding a 7-1 series lead in that time and a 16-5 win-loss ratio across the 25 Tests on their home soil, while Australia last won a Test series in India in 2004.
A 4-0 series win for India would help them attain a points percentage of 68.06, which is likely to be enough for a crucial top-two finish in the WTC standings, while Australia are well-placed to qualify for the final to be held in June regardless of the series result in India.