India has lost the Test series against South Africa without playing the third match which is scheduled on January 24th and is to be hosted at Johannesburg. Speaking of the failure of the Indian team to perform coach Ravi Shastri stated that an additional cushion of 10 days to practice would have made a lot of difference to the team’s performance. India arrived in South Africa mere 8 days before they were to tussle with the hosts for the first Test in Cape Town. Lack of time to practice prevented team India to acclimatize with the conditions and our batsmen couldn’t perform.
Due to time limitations, India also canceled a two-day practice game ahead of the opener and went directly for the first play. Shastri accepted that an additional 10 days of practice has made a lot of difference, but also that’s no excuse for poor performance. Additional, he said, “Unfortunately the schedule was such that you had matches. But am sure henceforth in the future when itineraries are made that will be taken into account, there is absolutely no doubt about that. You get there a couple of weeks earlier and prepare.”
This is the first time that Indian team has gone for a series with South Africa without sufficient practice and acclimatization to conditions. Former Indian coach Gary Kirsten always made sure to get at least two weeks of practice period before any major tournament.
If you remember the home series against Sri Lanka in 2017, India learned the lesson and got into damage control mode by limiting the tour of the big players to overseas games that are meaningless. However, for this series, not even the rested players reached South Africa early, which is claimed to be because of some strange logistical issues by Shastri.
In his words, “There was a thought [of sending the Test specialists early] but then you are disjointed. Even as a team you are disjointed, who is going to handle things here? Preparation-wise or whatever. Those thoughts can be put in hindsight. But in hindsight I would say the best thing would be, reach there two weeks earlier.”
Even though we have lost the Test series it in no way undermines the capability of the team to make a comeback. Ravi Shastri quoted moments where Indian team performed at its best, “We had our moments in both test matches and we looked like the No.1 team when we bowled out South Africa for 130 [In Cape Town]. When we closed the gap thanks to Virat’s brilliant innings, and had them 2-down with just 30 runs ahead [in Centurion], we looked like the no.1 team in overseas conditions. Not many teams look half that when they come to India.”
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