Sunil Gavaskar has emphasized on the fact that playing few practice games before the start of the series would have reduced the feeling of unfamiliarity in foreign conditions for the Indians. Gavaskar has also voiced his discontent with the players for ditching the optional practice sessions.
India succumbed to a 72 run loss at the hands of the mighty Proteas in the first Test in Newlands. India’s batting woes away from home continued in the first Test after the team decided not to play any practice games before the start of the series and instead opted for training with their own bowlers. The Indian batting contingent complained about the unfamiliar conditions for their loss in the first Test match.
“Whatever the thinking of the team think-tank, they should have played the warm-up games for the simple reason that the Indian team invariably struggles in the first Test overseas and playing a couple of warm-up games would have taken away, to a great extent, that feeling of unfamiliarity while facing the Proteas quickies in the first Test,” Indian Express quoted Gavaskar saying.
After losing the Test match on the fourth day, the Indian team decided to take an off from the evening optional practice session.
“As soon as the Test ended, a message should have been sent to the groundsman to not water the pitch, so the players could come and practice on the same pitch which had given them the problems. The next day was travel day so there would be little or no practice that day too,” Gavaskar added
On The fifth day of the Test match in Newlands, an optional practice session was attended by only four of the six Indian reserve players that had traveled with the team for the tour. The remaining team ditched the practice session due to the fatigue that had been accumulated over the past four days of the match.
“I have always been one for families to be part of a tour for even office goers go back to their families every evening so why shouldn’t the players? But office hours are office hours and practicing for a Test is about being in the office and preparing for the big day. That didn’t quite happen. What was disappointing is the day after the Test which was the fifth day of the Test the ‘optional’ practice meant that only four out of the six reserves turned up for practice. Having had the third day off due to rain there was no question of fatigue and apart from the seamers all should have turned up for practice,” an angry Gavaskar added.