Indian team management should think the series against England begins from October 30th not November 15th. From the moment England squad lands in India, the dice must start rolling.
Warm-up matches are very much a part of home team preparations too. While the visiting team see it as an opportunity to get used to conditions, home team normally use it to find solution to problems if any. Be it in helping to select the squad or providing the match practice for players or giving talented youngster an experience against international players and side, warm-up matches are useful in its own way. The ones are always on home team to use it efficiently.
Apart from using it for other reasons, I would suggest India to use three warm-up matches against England to unsettle them. No easy ride should be given to England team that already coming with its own problems like Kevin Petersen re-integration process, poor form, new captain and new opening combination. On top of it, their poor record in sub-continent conditions and challenge to stand still against menacing spin attack. So, as you can see, if India can increase or atleast keep alive the headache of England team during warm-up matches, then the possibility of demolishing and breaking them into pieces once the series starts increases lot.
The pitches for the warm-up matches (and also throughout the test series) should be dusty and crumbling, assisting spinners from day one. For the first warm-up match against England XI, BCCI should select the strongest possible India A team with an eye on finding solution to Indian test team problems. I would suggest playing Rahane, Dhawan, Vijay, Robin Bist, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Saha, Harbhajan Singh, Irfan Pathan, Murali Karthick and Amit Mishra in the A team starting XI. They can not only provide strong contest but also answers to our opening, No.6 batting slot and third spinner problems. Though the second warm-up match collides with Ranji fixtures and involves only Mumbai players, BCCI can still work a way out like allowing the players not playing in Mumbai vs Railways Ranji match to play for Mumbai A team. Similarly, third warm-up match also should be planned.
With so much media coverage these days and performance in warm-up matches also introspected, England need to play solidly and issue a statement very early in the tour that they can be competitive in spinning tracks. Otherwise, they will have to face the added media pressure too.
“Preparation prepares you to win.” Hope Indian team prepares themselves very hard to not only win the series but also settle the score suffered by them last year.