India will not play a warm-up match ahead of a major Test series in South Africa. Cricket South Africa has accepted the Indian team-management’s request to scrap the two-day tour fixture against an assorted bunch of home players at Paarl on December 30 and 31.
It has been learnt by Sportstar that coach Ravi Shastri was not keen on a game that was not even a first class encounter ahead of the opening Test beginning in Cape Town on January 5.
The team-management believed the team, instead, would be better off with centre-wicket practise at Newlands – the series opener will be played on this picturesque ground – either on January 1 and 2 or Jan. 2 and 3.
Given the strength of its pace attack, the Indian think-tank felt its batsmen would be tested more by the side’s own seamers that those from a South African outfit.
“This way, the batsmen have a better chance of getting used to the pace and bounce of the pitches in South Africa. There will be greater intensity in this that playing a two-day game without first class status or competitive element featuring more than 15 or 16 players in each side,” a source said.
The cramped schedule at home has hurt India’s preparation for a Test series. India ends its Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka only on December 24 and team leaves for South Africa on December 28, leaving it without time for a preparatory camp in India and a couple of three-day first class fixtures in South Africa – two such matches are necessary to give a run to all the players before the three-Test series.
It is never a great idea to play an away Test series on seaming tracks so soon after back-to-back series in the shorter formats. The BCCI has clearly slipped up here and skipper Virat Kohli is not happy. Left without time and pushed into a corner, the team-management has been forced to take matter into its own hands.
The team-management has also requested the BCCI to send four young and pacey seamers, Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini, Basil Thampi and Avesh Khan to bowl at the nets in South Africa. The Board is likely to give the nod.