Shortly after a jam-packed home season, Team India landed in South Africa on December 29. The world No. 1 Test side were slated to play a two-day warm-up match against South Africa before the first Test on January 5. However, the Indian team management opted out of the practice match and rather conducted their own training sessions.
As soon as India conceded the first two Tests and the series, blame game started and head coach Ravi Shastri admitted that another 10-15 days of preparation in the rainbow nation could have been ideal for the visitors.
In order to avoid such slip-ups in the forthcoming tour of England, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) are planning to make some changes in the scheduling and preparation time for the hectic tour.
As per the reports in TOI, the BCCI would encourage some of its Test specialists to play in the Rahul Dravid-coached India-A team’s tour of England before the senior team begins its five-match Test series from August 1.
Reports further suggest that the Indian team management and CoA chairman Vinod Rai recently analyzed the outcome of the South Africa Test series. Consequently, they came to a conclusion that more Indians cricketers should be encouraged to spend time in the County circuit or play India A matches before the Test series.
“One thing is certain. If the Indian team had spent at least 10 days in South Africa before the first Test, it would have made a lot of difference to the end result. The team is determined that each player gets enough time and exposure in England before the actual series begins,” an anonymous BCCI official told TOI on Saturday.
“The idea is to park more and more players in England and ensure that the cricketers are ready for the entire series. With England also scheduled to host the 50-over World Cup next year, this tour is very important for us,” the board official further added.
Just a few days ago, former South Africa skipper Shaun Pollock had criticized India’s misplaced priorities when it comes to Test cricket. Pollock had cited India’s lack of preparation as the biggest rationale behind their Tests series loss in South Africa.
“I was a little bit surprised by their batting. When they came on this tour I thought it was going to be their strength. I was a bit disappointed by the way they went (in the Test series),” Pollock had told Wisden India.
“Looking back, I think they have identified that preparation wise they needed to be here for more time. I suppose it goes down to what are the actual goals you want to achieve. If you want to win Test series away from home, then you have to give them more priority. And priority means more preparation,” he further said.
After conceding the first two Tests in Cape Town and Centurion, Team India bounced back emphatically to register a memorable 63-run victory in the third Test at Johannesburg.
Full itinerary of India’s tour of England 2018:
Jul 03, 1st T20I – Old Trafford, Manchester
Jul 06, 2nd T20I – Sophia Gardens, Cardiff
Jul 08, 3rd T20I – County Ground, Bristol
Jul 12, 1st ODI – Trent Bridge, Nottingham
Jul 14, 2nd ODI – Lord's, London
Jul 17, 3rd ODI – Headingley, Leeds
Aug 01 - Aug 05, 1st Test – Edgbaston, Birmingham
Aug 09 - Aug 13, 2nd Test – Lord's, London
Aug 18 - Aug 22, 3rd Test – Trent Bridge, Nottingham
Aug 30 - Sep 03, 4th Test – The Rose Bowl, Southampton
Sep 07 - Sep 11, 5th Test – Kennington Oval, London