IND vs SA: Ravi Shastri blames lack of practice for Virat Kohli and Co poor show
Team India head coach Ravi Shastri says Kohli & Co would've been better prepared for Test series if they had another 10 days of training in SA
India's captain Virat Kohli and head coach Ravi Shastri at Eden Gardens in Kolkata last year. Pic/PTI
Ravi Shastri, head coach of the Indian team, became the first member of the squad to admit that they might have got things wrong in their preparation for the South Africa series. When asked if it was tougher for the team to make comebacks overseas, Shastri explained the reasons why this was true. "First of all, overseas conditions. Conditions back home, we are familiar with. We shouldn't be in positions back home where you have to fight back as far as I am concerned," said Shastri. "In hindsight, I would say another 10 days of practice here would have made a difference. But that's no excuse."
Shastri added that this was set to change in future. "Unfortunately, the schedule was such that you had matches. But I'm sure henceforth when itineraries are made that will be taken into account — there is absolutely no doubt about that. You get there couple of weeks earlier and prepare," said Shastri.
'Not a feasible option'
While the BCCI had offered the team the option of sending the Test specialists to South Africa earlier, Shastri did not think this was viable. "There was a thought but then you are disjointed. Even as a team you are disjointed. Who is going to handle things here?" asked Shastri. "Preparation-wise or whatever. Those thoughts can be put in hindsight. But in hindsight I would say the best thing would be, reach there two weeks earlier." When Virat Kohli was asked about the lack of preparation, after the first Test, his answer was completely different. "We were very well prepared. I don't think we felt any lack of preparation," said Kohli.
But, the clearest admission of mistakes made came in the net sessions the Indian team in Johannesburg. Ajinkya Rahane, left out of the first two Tests, had long stints in the nets and appeared to be a sure starter for the final game. On this point, Shastri conceded no ground. "If Ajinkya had played first, and not done well, you would have asked why Rohit hasn't played," said Shastri.
"Rohit played, he didn't do well, you are asking me why Ajinkya didn't play. When you have choices, the team management has discussed what is the best option and they stick by it." Vernon Philander wasn't quite sure that an extra 10 days in South Africa would have made a difference to the score line.
'We played better'
"Their management team has sat down with their players and asked them what suits them better. As far as the result is concerned, we played the better cricket and deserved the results at the end of the day. "Coming here 10 days earlier might have helped them a little bit, that's unfortunately their call to answer." And answering they finally are.
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