Mark Butcher has questioned England’s preparation for their five-match Test series in India, with the tourists set to arrive in India less than a week before the start of the first Test.

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England are preparing for the landmark series with an 11-day training camp in Abu Dhabi and will not play any warm-up matches in India before the first Test. They will arrive in Hyderabad three days before the start of the match, a decision which has drawn criticism from pundits and former players.

Speaking on the Wisden Cricket Weekly podcast, Butcher said of England’s preparation: “Frankly I’d be a little bit terrified if I was playing. Most of the guys haven’t played any long form cricket since July. Very few of the squad were involved a great deal in the rundown of the County Championship which finished at the back end of September. We’re now three months down the road with nobody having had any sort of middle practice at all.

“It’s totally in keeping with the way England are doing things, and their motto is, ‘Just because you’ve always done something before doesn’t mean you should always do it forever and a day’. But I think, from a playing point of view, I would be a little bit concerned about not having felt that competition, being out in the middle and taking guard on something where the runs you make and your wicket are important.”

The decision to forgo practice matches before a series is not a new one to Brendon McCullum’s England. They didn’t play any warm-up fixtures before their 3-0 series victory in Pakistan and had a short run in to the home Ashes series last summer. However, given the difficulties overseas sides have faced when touring in India, that lack of preparation has come under more scrutiny.

“England did a similar thing in the lead up to the last Ashes series away from home and we saw how that went,” said Butcher. “They did a similar thing leading into the Ashes series at home during the course of this summer and were 2-0 down before they got going. You certainly couldn’t say for sure that this England side with a lack of experience, or a lack of hot shot spin bowling options in particular, would be in a position to do anything like they did against Australia, coming back from 2-0 down, against this India team who simply do not lose series at home.

“The only thing with it is, it puts you under an enormous amount of pressure should it go badly. People have been delighted with Bazball, unbelievably happy with the way England have played under Ben Stokes and it’s been nothing but good vibes and good stories really, barring the odd selection issue from time to time. Everybody believes going to India that you’re unlikely to win a five-Test match series in India right? But what people will be less likely to be gentle about is if you go there without having done the requisite getting ready for it and then get battered. That’s kind of inexcusable.

“Particularly given the huge gap that there has been for the Test team between July and now whereby there’s no real reason why they couldn’t have spent three weeks in India leading up to the series.”

The first Test match of the series gets underway in Hyderabad on January 25, with the series set to conclude in early March.