Kevin Pietersen is free to join the England squad for their training camp in Dubai after his Delhi Daredevils side were beaten in the Champions League Twenty20 semi-finals on Thursday night.
It was the perfect outcome for England as Pietersen showed welcome hints of a return to form by hitting 50 from 44 balls, his top score of the tournament, but his team were beaten by the Highveld Lions.
It means that his reintegration into the England set-up can continue in Dubai over the weekend before the squad head for Mumbai and the first of their three warm-up games before the first Test, a three-day match against India A which starts on Tuesday.
Pietersen and the rest of the England batsmen seem likely to spend most of their time in Dubai facing spin to prepare them for the tests that await. In addition to Graeme Swann, Monty Panesar and Samit Patel, the three spinners in the squad, four more twirlers have been recruited to bowl in the nets – James Tredwell, Scott Borthwick, Azeem Rafiq and Simon Kerrigan.
However major doubts remain about the number of commentators who will be following the England squad out to India. The BBC is standing behind Sky in a row with the Board of Control for Cricket in India that could leave the radio and television commentators grounded in London for England's four-Test series, which begins in Ahmedabad next month.
Sky has been in dispute with the BCCI for some time over its demand for an additional $800,000 (£496,000), on top of the six-year rights agreement to stage Test cricket from India that was announced only last month, to cover the "realistic costs" of the facilities they will need at the grounds. The BBC is being asked for a comparatively modest $80,000 for the facilities required for live ball-by-ball radio coverage for Test Match Special – a fee, like Sky's, which had not been mentioned when its own deal to cover the series was concluded six weeks ago. But it is also refusing to pay. Both broadcasters see this as a point of principle, which means that a compromise between now and the start of the first Test on 15 November is anything but inevitable.
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