The Indian cricket team Down Under has made several wrong moves on tour, but the decision to skip a visit to Barossa Valley vineyard in South Africa was a wise one. Officially, the team had a couple of days off before Saturday's (although reports say they could train today) first practice session at the Adelaide Oval and the players could well have enjoyed the pleasures of visiting a winery which incidentally the 1977-78 Indian team found very relaxing during the rest day of the fifth and final Test at Adelaide way back then.
A cricket team should not essentially function as per the you-need-to-do-this-and-that 'guidelines' from their supporters and media, but at the same time, image is important. At this stage, when the team is 0-3 down and have already surrendered the Border-Gavaskar Trophy to Australia, they need to, as stressed by Sunil Gavaskar in this newspaper recently, do things which will not displease their supporters. By saying no to the pleasures of a break they did send out a message that we cannot give people the impression that we are here only for a good time.
At the same time, the team bosses' decision to train only on Saturday, after arriving in Adelaide on Wednesday, appears strange. It's not that the team didn't have their share of off days. Hopefully, three days of nets will be enough to come up with a far better performance, if not a victory, in Tuesday's Test.
Ideally, there should have been a tour game slotted in between the Perth and Adelaide Tests, but schedules cannot be changed when the tour starts. Call it lack of gumption by the administrators or senior players, but it has not done any good to the team.
Adelaide provides Mahendra Singh Dhoni & Co an opportunity to salvage some lost pride. Touring teams have done that in the past. It's time for India to grab the opportunity.