Having seen India's preparation for the Test series in England go wrong, head coach Ravi Shastri and the team management have requested for a couple of proper practice games before the start of Border-Gavaskar Trophy later this year in Australia.
While India missed out on a great opportunity to win an overseas series for a variety of reasons, one of them was certainly the lack of first-class games leading upto the Tests. We are currently living in a world where words like technique, practice, planning and preparation are considered overrated by certain sections, but these are necessities if a team is to find long term success in Test cricket. A team ambitioned to be the best touring side in the world, surely mustn't undervalue them.
This is where Ravi, possibly admitting the problem, has asked for more adequate game time leading upto the series in Australia.
“Why would we be?," said Ravi, when asked whether India opposes the idea of practice games in an interview with ESPNcricinfo, "You can only see the results (in the England Tests). Every time after the second Test we have improved. You can still get better. But why can’t we be in that position in the first Test match?." and added, “If you have two or three games against weaker sides we don’t mind because it is a game, But when you have a schedule as tight as this and when you have a memorandum of understanding that has already been formulated, with a choc-a-bloc calendar, there is very little you can do."
Having perhaps learnt a lesson, he cleared, "Now, we have requested for a couple of (warm-up) games in Australia before the Test series. But is there space (to play those matches)? That is the question."
One major obstacle to the quality of preparation these days is the number of limited overs games that are arranged on important Test tours. Ravi understands the practicality of the situation and said, "Ideally we would want two three- or four-day games before a Test series, But do you have the time? For example, we have a T20 series in Australia preceding the Test series. There is a 10-day gap before the first Test. These are things that have been approved earlier. It is not in our control."
While India lost 4-1 but Ravi wants to see the positive side of things, as his side very narrowly lost at Edgbaston and Southampton. This is what, he says, he and his team would take back home with them and strive to keep building for the future.
"I head back home with a very positive state of mind. I know exactly what we do. I know exactly and clearly where the team is heading – it is heading in the right direction." said Ravi and added, "People are entitled to their opinions. As long as we know the job we are doing and we are honest to our jobs, as long as support staff we are helping players channelise their energies in the right direction, we are not worried about what critics say,"