England A's right approach

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CRICKET England A play the opening match of their tour of India in Bombay today determined to reverse the run of misfortune that has dogged the senior team in Australia.

The shadow England squad were so dedicated in practice yesterday that the team manager, Phil Neale, paid tribute to the tourists after a punishing training schedule in the Brabourne Stadium.

"You can tell Test places are up for grabs," Neale said before naming his team to play a 50-over match against the Cricket Club of India.

Nick Knight, who surprised Essex by announcing that he was joining Warwickshire next season, will open the batting with Lancashire's Jason Gallian and the tourists include two left arm spinners, Richard Stemp and Min Patel, to perform on a pitch certain to take spin.

Neale, receiving regular reports of England's Ashes misfortunes, insists England A will try to dominate all matches on the tour with the traditional English strength of discipline, fight and patience.

"It is clear from the way the players are performing in practice that what's going on in Australia has given them an even greater incentive to do well," Neale said.

He believes his squad, younger than the successful A team he led in South Africa last winter, has equal strength in batting and bowling but is better equipped in the field.

"We have specialist slip fielders here and our ground fielding and throwing has been exceptional in practice," Neale said.

The Cricket Club of India will field a strong side containing Rohan Gavaskar, son of the former Indian Test captain, Sunil.

Also included in their line-up is Amol Muzumdar, who distinguished himself last year by making a world-record 260 runs in a first-class debut for Bombay.

England A (v Cricket Club of India, Bombay, today): A Wells (Sussex, capt), N Knight (Warwicks), J Gallian (Lancs), M Ramprakash (Middlesex), D Hemp (Glamorgan), P Weekes (Middlesex), D Cork (Derby), P Nixon (Leics), G Chapple (Lancs), R Stemp (Yorks), MPatel (Kent).