Team Management declined BCCI's offer to send Test specialists to SA early for preparation
What's the story?
One of the main reasons for India's loss in the first Test against South Africa has been the lack of preparation as the team landed in the rainbow nation barely a week before the day one of the first Test.
This wouldn't have been the case had the team management listened to BCCI's offer and left for South Africa much in advance to get used to the conditions. According to Indian Express, BCCI officials, including the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (COA), had asked the team management whether it wants to send its core players to South Africa but the Indian team management declined the offer.
"The BCCI had offered Indian team management that the core group of Test team can be sent to South Africa early. Players like Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane are not part of limited overs cricket and were playing local cricket here. The BCCI was ready to bear the cost but team management showed no interest and declined the offer. We were even ready to let top players skip ODI and T20 legs of the series against Sri Lanka," said a BCCI official.
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After playing the T20I series against Sri Lanka, the India team left for South Africa on 28th December and reached Cape Town the next day, which is just one week prior to the start of the first Test which they lost by 72 runs chasing a modest total of 208.
Lack of planning and preparation clearly reflected on the team's performance in the first Test as the players found it hard to get used to the conditions. When asked about the lack of preparation in the post-match press conference, skipper Virat Kohli said that players were very well prepared.
Parallels from history
This is not the first time the BCCI is offering the players a chance to leave India early ahead of important tours and make sure that they get used to the conditions in the host country before the series gets underway.
The Sourav Ganguly-led Indian team landed in Australia almost a month before the start of the 2003-04 Border Gavaskar Trophy and the Test specialists in the Indian team for the 2009 Test series against New Zealand were playing for the local teams in New Zealand ahead of the start of the Test series.
It is good on the part of BCCI to offer the Indian cricketers a chance of touring South Africa early to get used to the conditions. But, the Indian team management could have acted wisely and accepted the offer rather than staying back in India for the limited-overs series against Sri Lanka and Virat Kohli's reception.