Graham Thorpe, the England lead batting coach, believes the Hundred will be good preparation for the India Test series because it will free England’s struggling batsmen to enjoy themselves and help forget defeat by New Zealand.
There are only two rounds of the County Championship between now and the start of the five-Test series against India on Aug 4. The Hundred starts on July 22 and the England players are expected to appear in the early rounds to give the tournament launch a lift.
The modern schedule is filled with white-ball cricket at the height of summer and the players who had their shot-selection and tempo exposed by New Zealand will have to somehow transition from playing the game’s newest, shortest format to facing arguably the best attack in the world in Test cricket.
“It is about adapting,” Thorpe said. “I hope what it does is allow them to free up and enjoy their cricket; help them to relax. Free up the hands and the arms but, of course, being able to adapt to each form of the game.
“It is not impossible to do, and that comes down to the mental side of knowing what your game is in the Hundred and knowing what your game is at Test level.
“I hope it gives them a mental break, they go and enjoy their cricket and the ones who come back into the Test squad come back with that hunger and desire to be better.”
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Thorpe takes control of the England squad from head coach Chris Silverwood for the one-day international series against Sri Lanka and will have little time to work with the Test players before the first match against India at Trent Bridge.
England have lost their past two Tests at Trent Bridge, both heavy defeats, against South Africa and India. After both losses, England’s approach to Test match batting was under scrutiny. It was a phase when England confused ODI batting with Test cricket. Since then they have tried to play a longer game under Silverwood but the batsmen have lacked the basics of a good defence and ability to pick the right balls to attack.
“We have some younger players in our team who are still developing and we’re wanting them to improve,” Thorpe said. “But sometimes the intensity and the spotlight of Test cricket, when you’re up against a good team like New Zealand, just highlights how much of a challenge our players found their decision-making and the execution of shots.”