Even before India had left for South Africa, their decision to not play any warm-up game before such a tough tour had already made many criticise the team-management, and the criticism has only elevated after the loss in the first two Tests which ended India’s nine series-winning runs. What made India’s work, even more, tough is that they left for South Africa just one week before the first Test.
Before the ongoing series, India had not lost a Test series under Virat Kohli, winning a record nine consecutive ones including the 3-0 win over the Proteas at home in 2015. But all the past performances counted for little against Faf du Plessis & Co. as India were outplayed in both the games. In the first Tests, they lost the game by 72 runs while chasing 208 while in the second game they were all out for just 151 while chasing 287.
The batsmen’s spectacular capitulation against the formidable Proteas attack has made many believe that the lack of preparation time, as well as no-warm up game, is the reason behind the team’s poor show. In fact, even head coach Ravi Shastri admitted that another ten days would have made a difference.
“In hindsight, I would say another 10 days of practice here, would have made a difference. But that is no excuse,” Shastri had said earlier this week.
However, former India opener Virender Sehwag has blamed Shastri for not sending Test specialists early to the African country. Sehwag also said that it was Shastri and the team management’s responsibility to send them and not BCCI.
“There is no use talking about that now,” Sehwag told India TV when reminded about Shastri’s comments.
“Test players could have gone to South Africa earlier. Why were they not sent? It was coach’s (Ravi Shastri) responsibility to tell the BCCI, it is not Indian cricket board’s duty. Those who were not playing ODIs and T20Is in India, they should have been sent to South Africa. They should have practised there, played for a state side. They should have done it.
“Who’s fault is it? It is team management’s fault. BCCI has no role in it. It is the duty of the team management to tell the BCCI to send players. It has happend in the past too,” 39-year-old Sehwag questioned Shastri.
Sehwag also recalled that when he was captain the Indian Test players left for Australia early, in 2011.
“When I was captain, when I scored a double hundred (219 in December 2011) in ODIs against West Indies (in Indore), Test players were sent to Australia early. They went there and played matches. We finished ODIs and later joined them,” he said.
When told that there could have been pressure from BCCI not to send Test players early to South Africa, Sehwag defended the Indian cricket board.
“There is no pressure from BCCI, it is always supportive to the team management and players. It was team management’s decision,” he said.
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