Former India opener Sunil Gavaskar has blamed India’s management team for an “unprepared” team after their loss to England in the first Test.
Gavaskar said India lacked “serious practice” heading into the Edgbaston Test, which will prove to be detrimental to his nation’s chances in the five-game series this summer.
India played just eight days of competitive cricket before day one of the first Test – three ODIs and three T20Is against England, plus two T20Is versus Ireland, followed by a five-day break. Gavaskar has described the pre-Test schedule as “no preparation at all”.
“I can understand that you need to switch off after a series but that can’t be five days at a stretch,” said the India legend. “It can be three plus three-day breaks between matches, but not five days.”
Gavaskar also criticised the decision to shorten a first-class match with Essex, and involve the entire 18-man squad. “They should have played at least two three-day games and proper first-class games,” he said. “Not 18 players, but 11 players.
“They should have prepared in such a manner to give themselves a chance in the Test match. They cancelled a warm-up game in South Africa and were thrashed in the first two Tests.”
Gavaskar accused the management team of being delusional if they thought a month in England prior to the Test series was the key to success: “They deluded themselves that they are in England for one month. They played white ball cricket where the bat speed is different from red ball cricket.”
The former India batsman, however, did have praise for India skipper Virat Kohli, but warned that his methods of preparation aren’t a blueprint for the whole squad.
“Kohli can take 50 days off and then come back and score a hundred next day,” added Gavaskar. “He is an exceptional talent and if he takes time off, no issues. But the team management needs to understand that others need practice.”
Lastly, Gavaskar had one recommendation for India’s selectors heading into the second Test at Lord’s, which gets underway on Thursday August 9. “I always believe that in overseas conditions, you need to play an additional batsman,” he said. “They got to believe in themselves that they can do well. I believe in this team.”