West Indies As The Opposition Is Not The Way You Prepare For Australia: Gautam Gambhir
Veteran India batsman Gautam Gambhir feels the ongoing Test series against West Indies is not the ideal preparation for the challenging tour of Australia later this year.
India will be eyeing an improved show when they visit Australia this year. The ongoing decade has been nothing short of disaster for India as far as overseas performances are concerned. They have not won a single Test series in Australia, South Africa, England and New Zealand.
The ongoing year has only extended India’s recent overseas woes. The Virat Kohli-led side have already lost Test series in South Africa and England this year. But they will have a chance to make amends when they visit Australia. India can also create history Down Under, having never won a Test and bilateral ODI series in Australia.
However, their preparation for the challenging tour has not impressed Gautam Gambhir. The discarded batsman feels the series against West Indies will not prepare the world number one side for the tour Down Under.
“It’s probably just the ICC calendar and I don’t see any other relevance. When you go to Australia, either you bring a stronger opposition or you go early and prepare with as many practice games as you can. West Indies side seems depleted, no disrespect to the team, but when you go to Australia, you’ve got to prepare in a different way. West Indies as the opposition, at home, is not the way you prepare for Australia. You would rather play West Indies in a One-day and T20I former and go to Australia early,” said Gambhir in an interview with News18.
India thoroughly outplayed West Indies in the first Test, beating the visitors in just over two days. Batting first, the hosts piled up a mammoth 649 for 9. The Kohli-led side then bowled out West Indies for just 181 and 196 to register their biggest win in Tests.
Gambhir further said India should learn from past mistakes and fly to Australia about a month earlier to acclimatise to the conditions.
The team opted to skip the one-off warm-up match ahead of the three-Test series in South Africa in January in favour of high-intensity training sessions. Not surprisingly, the lack of preparation was clearly visible as India lost the series 2-1. Kohli & Co. did play one in England. But what was initially an official first-class game, turned into a glorified practice session in the name of warm-up game with all 18 players taking part.
“This is the mistake we made in South Africa, then, the same way in England. I think 1-2 warm-up games before the Australia tour will not be enough. So maybe you go to Australia a month early. the Test squad goes there 20-25 days early. Then try and play at least 4-5 warm-up games before the first Test. This way you get acclimatised to the wickets and the conditions. I hope this happens because this probably our best chance at winning an overseas series. We missed tow chances before,” Gambhir explained.
India, meanwhile, will play a full-fledged series in Australia before flying out to New Zealand for a limited-overs tour.