At a time when shadow tours ahead of India’s overseas trips clashing with the domestic cricket season have been severely criticised by legendary cricketers, Ajinkya Rahane, the Test vice-captain, has supported the initiative, albeit with a rider.
“I feel it is important to have a shadow tour because you get to know the conditions really well. The only thing I feel is the wickets that we get in shadow games are completely different than what we get in international games,” Rahane said, on the sidelines of an event to announce his investment in MeraKisan, an organic farming initiative of Mahindra Group.
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“That’s an area but you cannot control that when you go overseas. But I feel if we can get similar conditions that we get in international matches, that will be better (for shadow tours). The game that I played for India-A in New Zealand, that was a complete flat wicket. We lost three or four wickets in two days, so that’s an area to improve.”
With the BCCI having started organising shadow tours ahead of major overseas assignments for the last two years, it has resulted in the Ranji Trophy being depleted, let alone internationals. Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar has come down heavily on the idea. Rahane said that there has to be a “balance” between shadow tours and domestic cricket.
Need for balance
“You have got to balance it out. Yes, domestic cricket is really important. As a Test player, if you get time to play domestic cricket, you should play domestic cricket but I still feel, it’s important to have a shadow tour ahead of an overseas Test series. You get used to the conditions. Jet lag is also a factor. Seven and a half hour difference (with New Zealand time zone),” he said.
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“Those small small things, getting used to weather, it’s also important. I think the BCCI has done a really good job by starting shadow tours. But whenever I can, I always give importance to Ranji Trophy cricket. I think players should play (Ranji) whenever possible.”
Despite playing three Ranji games, then having a training stint at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru followed by an appearance for India-A in New Zealand, Rahane could garner only 91 runs in four innings in New Zealand.
But the seasoned pro stressed he was neither worried for lack of runs nor succumbing to short-ball ploy used by the Kiwi pacers. He admitted that the Kiwi pacers “used breeze very well” in the series in which India was whitewashed 2-0.
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