If you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail
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