If you fail to pre­pare, then pre­pare to fail

Sportstar - - GROUND REPORT UTTARAKHAND - SU­NIL GAVASKAR

On the tour of Eng­land where the lim­ited­over in­ter­na­tion­als were played be­fore the five­match Test se­ries, the In­di­ans thought they would be ready for it. They didn’t reckon that the red ball moves a lot more and for far longer than the white ball does and play­ing on the rise and through the line, like in lim­ited­overs, is ex­tremely risky.

When it was an­nounced last year that in 201■­19 In­dia would be trav­el­ling to South Africa, Eng­land, Aus­tralia and New Zea­land, In­dian cricket lovers were ex­cited. This was the chance for their team to show that they were the real num­ber one by win­ning in these coun­tries and not sim­ply by the ac­cu­mu­la­tion of points with wins in their own back­yard and neigh­bour­ing coun­tries. They had every rea­son to be op­ti­mistic as the per­for­mance of the In­dian team, al­beit in fa­mil­iar con­di­tions and against none too strong op­po­si­tion, had been tremen­dous. The optimism was also built on the fact that for once In­dia had bowlers who were ca­pa­ble of tak­ing 20 wick­ets any­where in the world. That, along with a strong bat­ting line­up led by their skip­per Vi­rat Kohli, would give them enough runs to win in the SENA coun­tries.

There is an old say­ing that if you fail to pre­pare, then pre­pare to fail. The un­cer­tainty in the BCCI with all their of­fice­bear­ers be­ing ren­dered in­ef­fec­tive and in­ac­tive thanks to the Supreme Court ap­pointed COA and the CAC not be­ing re­con­sti­tuted meant that there was hardly any­body to take cricketing de­ci­sions that would help the team get a sched­ule where they could pre­pare for these tours.

The com­mit­ment to the TV rights hold­ers meant that in­stead of go­ing to South Africa two weeks in ad­vance and play some prac­tice games the team had to play mean­ing­less one­day and T20 in­ter­na­tion­als against the Lankans. A two­day prac­tice game was also can­celled and so the team en­tered the first Test with­out be­ing match tested. Not sur­pris­ingly, the bats­men were at sea against the bounc­ing and mov­ing ball and couldn’t chase a pal­try score in the fourth in­nings. The story was still the same in the sec­ond Test where the much vaunted bats­men were un­able to sup­port the mag­nif­i­cent ef­fort of their bowlers. Then, in the third Test on a pitch with vari­able bounce they won when their bowlers de­fended a small­ish tar­get.

One would have thought they had learnt from that tour but they got car­ried away with their per­for­mances in the lim­ited­overs white ball cricket that fol­lowed the Test matches and thought that it was the ac­cli­ma­ti­sa­tion that did the trick. So, when it came to the tour of Eng­land where the lim­ited­over in­ter­na­tion­als were played be­fore the five­match Test se­ries, they thought they would be ready for it. They didn’t reckon that the red ball moves a lot more and for far longer than the white ball does and

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