Mumbai: Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar lashed out at Indian team management saying it had erred by focusing on “simulated” training rather than playing actual cricket matches to prepare for an important five-match Test series.
India lost the first Test by 31 runs, with all of their specialist batsmen, barring Virat Kohli, showing weak technique and even weaker temperament. This led Gavaskar to question why the players were given five days off before the start of the England Tests, and took issue with India reducing the proposed four-day match against Essex into three days.
Three-day warm-up match in 14 days
The white-ball portion of India’s tour ended with the third ODI on July 17, but there was only one practice game – against Essex – scheduled in the 14-day gap until the start of the first Test on August 1. “See Virat Kohli is such an exceptional talent, he can take 15 days off and then score a hundred the next day,” Gavaskar told an Indian media house.
“If he takes time off, no quarrel at all. But he has to understand, and the team management have to understand, that others need practice. I understand the need to switch off, but it can’t be five days. You can taper off later, but not at the start.
The last ODI was on July 17, and the Test series started on August 1. There were 14 days in between. And you play only a three-day match in that period? Why have you gone to England – to play cricket or something else?”
Match practice is key to winning
Gavaskar also didn’t agree with the notion that arriving in England a month before the Tests began had been helpful, largely because India had spent that time playing one-day cricket.
“They deluded themselves, and everybody, by saying they have been in England for a month. But in that time they were playing against the white ball,” he pointed out. “They didn’t learn anything from the South Africa experience. You can have as many match simulations, as many throw-downs, but it is never the same as a match situations.”
(With inputs from Agencies)