India’s chief coach Ravi Shastri on Monday (January 22) stated that a few more days of practice in the adverse conditions of South Africa could have changed the fortune of world No. 1 Test side in the ongoing three-match Test series.
While India lost the first Test by 72 runs in Cape Town, they hot humiliated in the second Test by 135 runs at SuperSport Centurion.
Considering the way Indian batsmen have been found out in the four innings of two Tests thus far, Shastri said that the option of including more practice sessions in the schedule before an overseas tour will be considered in future.
"Conditions back home we are familiar with. We should not be in a position where we have to fight back; that is the bottom line as far as I am concerned. We fought back, we did well. Here conditions are different. Another 10 days of practice here would have made a difference," Shastri quoted while addressing the media in Johannesburg.
"But that's no excuse because it's the same pitch for both the sides and I would rather focus on the 20 wickets we have taken that has given us a chance in both Test matches to win games. Yes, our top order, if we can fire, it will be a good Test match.
“Unfortunately, the schedule was such like you had matches. But I am sure henceforth in future, when the itineraries are made, that will be taken into account," he further added.
Talking about the defeats in Cape Town and Centurion, Shastri said the team had chances in both the matches but failed to capitalize on it.
"We have had chances in both Test matches but didn't make the most of it. So when you believe you have a chance to win, then you look forward to a Test match; when you don't believe you can win, you don't look forward to a Test match," he said.
India’s Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane, who has done exceptionally well in India’s overseas tours previously, was left out of the team at the expense of Rohit Sharma in Cape Town and Centurion. Moreover, the Indian team management had astonishingly dropped Bhuvneshwar Kumar from the second Test at SuperSport Park. It is pertinent to mention that Bhuvi has scalped 6 wickets besides scoring 25 and 13* in the two innings of Cape Town Test.
Shastri defended the decisions made by the team management by saying that it is entirely dependent on the conditions and the current form of the players.
"In India you don't have to chop and change and in overseas conditions you go according to the current form and condition. You see which player can adapt to certain conditions quicker than the other. So that's where the chopping and changing starts," Shastri remarked.
"When there are choices that will always be the case. If Ajinkya (Rahane) had played and not done well, you would have asked me the same question why Rohit is not there. Rohit played, he did not do well, you are asking me why Ajinkya didn`t play. The same would have happened with the fast bowlers," he concluded.
Being a numero uno Test side in ICC rankings, India will now have to salvage some pride in the third and final Test, scheduled to start on Wednesday (January 24) at New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg.