Ahead of the high-voltage Test series against England, India head coach Ravi Shastri has made it clear that the current team does not believe in complaining and won’t make any excuse with regards to the pitch and conditions.
On Tuesday (July 24), reports had claimed that the Indian team management curtailed the duration of their practice match against county side Essex amid high drama over the condition of the pitch and the outfield. The warm-up match which was supposed to be played from July 25 to July 28 will now culminate on July 27 as the playing conditions left the visitors unhappy.
However, Shastri brushed aside all the rumours during his press conference on Wednesday (July 25).
“My philosophy is very simple – (in) your country, I don’t ask questions. (In) my country, you don’t ask. I said (to groundsmen) leave it, and don’t take anything off,” Shastri told reporters.
“One thing, on this trip, you will never see this Indian team giving an excuse as regarding conditions or the pitch. Our challenge is to beat them. We take pride in performing wherever we go and we want to be the best travelling side in the world. The last person to complain will be this Indian team (sic), so I want to clarify this very clearly,” he added.
The India chief coach further dismissed any doubts about complaints regarding the pitch or the outfield, which is fairly uneven and bears only patches of grass.
“There was good grass on that (pitch). The groundsmen asked if we wanted the grass to be taken off. I said ‘absolutely not’. (It is) your prerogative. You give (the wicket), we play, so when you come to my country you can never ask (about pitches),” Ravi remarked.
He also cited heat wave as a factor behind the curtailment of practice match as the team wanted better preparation ahead of the first Test starting in Birmingham on August 1.
“The game was reduced from four days to three because of the logistics and the weather prevailing. We had an opportunity to practice three days in Birmingham, which is the Test match venue. If we had played four days here we would have lost that one day there because of travel. As simple as that because the prerogative whether to play a two-day, three-day or four-day game lies entirely with the travelling team,” Shastri explained.
Ravi revealed that the decision to shorten the game was made during the practice session on Tuesday.
“It was decided yesterday (during practice). We had a chat (with Essex authorities) and once they explained how they had sold tickets and everything. We were quite happy to play even a two-day game and use that one extra day for practice here. But they said tickets and all that, so we said okay, ‘we will play a three-day game’” Shastri asserted.
“And travel on Saturday, to be able to practice on Sunday. The reason is to get to the Test match venue because it wouldn’t have served any purpose with an extra day here. An extra day there will give us more familiarity with the venue and the conditions where you are playing the first Test,” he concluded.
(With PTI inputs)