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Shastri defends decision to cut warm-up tie

LONDON: India coach Ravi Shastri insisted there was nothing underhand about his side’s decision to reduce their scheduled four-day match against Essex which started on Wednesday to a three-day game.
This is the only first-class fixture India will play before next week’s first Test of the five-match series against England at Edgbaston.
There had been speculation that India’s unusual move had been made in response to being provided with green practice pitches at Chelmsford which, with England in the middle of a heatwave, may bare little resemblance to the surface they encounter for the first Test.
But Shastri was adamant the reason the tourists’ management wanted a day lopped off the Essex fixture was because they believed it would be more beneficial if India, who have already played Twenty20 and one-day international series in England this trip, had an extra day of training at Edgbaston instead.
“We are getting in there, into the Test match venue, because it wouldn’t have served the purpose here [Chelmsford],” Shastri told travelling Indian media. “Instead of an extra day here, I think an extra day (of training) there would be more valuable.
“More familiarity with the venue and the conditions where you are playing the first Test,” the former India all-rounder added.
“If we had played four days here we would have lost that one day there because of travel.”