NAGPUR: Preparation time for overseas trips is not adequate for Indian cricketers due to the packed schedule and the matter needs to be discussed, skipper Virat Kohli said at a press conference here on Thursday, a day ahead of the second Test against Sri Lanka.
“We have two days before we board the flight for South Africa (after the end of the other commitments). That leaves us with no time to prepare and that’s why we have decided to have these conditions at home,” the India skipper said, replying to a question on grassy pitches at home.
The first Test in Kolkata was played on a green track. The venue for the second too has a cover of green. It’s not as thick as the one at Eden Gardens, but has some vegetation on the surface nonetheless, considering average Indian pitches.
He said, “When we travel abroad, we sometimes get criticised for not doing well. What people don’t take into account is the inadequate time for preparation. We play on one kind of pitches at home and hardly get the time to get used to the conditions when we travel. We need about a couple of weeks and I don’t mind being criticised if we do poorly after that.”
Accordingly, added Kohli, the team management has requested for green pitches for the Sri Lanka series. “When we know that we won’t get the time to prepare for such conditions in South Africa, we thought it’s better to have these conditions at home. This pitch looks hard with a fair amount of grass cover. The fast bowlers will be in play for the first two days for sure. It might turn later on.”
The schedule of the Indian cricket team, which seldom includes enough practice matches when playing abroad, has often been criticised in the media. Tours of England, Australia and South Africa since 2010 are examples of the team not doing well after going into Test matches without sufficient time to get used to the conditions.
However, rarely have captains complained about this aspect. Now that Kohli has, it remains to be seen how the BCCI reacts to it. With uncertainty in the BCCI over who calls the shots, it won’t be a surprise if this doesn’t come up for discussion.