Is India not given enough time to prepare for Tests?
“You never give up on us, and we promise to never give up on you either. Onwards and upwards,” wrote Indian skipper Virat Kohli apologizing for the humiliating defeat of his team at Lord’s.
When India lost second Test match at Lord’s, criticism rained in abundance on the Indian cricket team.
While former England skipper Nasser Hussain termed the Test series going on between the two nations as ‘Men vs Boys’, Former England cricketer Geoffrey Boycott termed India’s batting performance as “naive, irresponsible and bordering on stupidity.”
Many cricket greats have attributed lack of preparation for India’s loss at Edgbaston and Lord’s. While the talks in every nook and corner has set abuzz a debate questioning what went wrong for the number one team, we try to analyse a few statistics that might bring the reason for team India’s woes to the fore.
Is BCCI always hungry for more?
An overstuffed year calendar and exhausted players might be the main reason behind India’s questionable form in England.
India have toured two traditionally tricky nations this year so far, one being South Africa and the other England. India lost the Test series against Proteas, and now they are struggling to find their winning ways on English soil.
A look at the job done by the Tour, Programme and Fixtures Committee of the BCCI will present a picture-portrait of the tight-packed schedule of Team India.
When India embarked on the journey to South Africa, the team had just finished a series against Sri Lanks on December 24, 2017, and India played their first Test against the Proteas on January 5.
Just before the team left, Indian skipper Virat Kohli said, “As usual cramped for time, I think we need to assess it in future as whenever we go on overseas, people easily judge the players and their performance, but they never assess how much time did we get to prepare.”
“We should get the time we need for preparation and then we are entitled to be criticized,” he had added.
Fast forward a few months later, India is again struggling on the English soil and the time given to the Indian cricket team for preparation ahead of a tour might be the prime reason of their dismal show against the three Lions.
May 27- Indian Premier League ended
June 14-18- One-off Test against Afghanistan, Yo-Yo Tests
June 23- India leave for UK Tour
June 27- First T20I against Ireland
July 3- Second T20I against England
July 12- First ODI against England
July 14- Second ODI against England
July 17- Third ODI against England
July 25-July 27- Three-day practice match against Essex
August 1- 1st Test against England
ODIs- The Golden Goose for BCCI?
If India wants to go for long tours and win in countries like Australia, England and South Africa, it is essential for the team to prepare differently for Tests.
In the past, BCCI has argued that ODIs generate more revenues for India. The Indian cricket team will be playing 203 matches between 2018 and 2023. They will be playing 51 Tests, 83 ODIs and T20Is.
Team India’s Schedule (From 2018-19 to 2022-23)
|India||69 T20Is||51 Tests||83 ODIs|
|England||50 T20Is||59 Tests||66 ODIs|
|Australia||59 T20Is||47 Tests||68 ODIs|
|South Africa||56 T20Is||38 Tests||66 ODIs|
|West Indie||68 T20Is||43 Tests||75 ODIs|
|Sri Lanka||66 T20Is||43 Tests||71 ODIs|
|Pakistan||63 T20Is||40 Tests||61 ODIs|
|New Zealand||59 T20Is||38 Tests||62 ODIs|
|Bangladesh||57 T20Is||44 Tests||59 ODIs|
If India brings down the number of the ODIs, it could quickly free up a few months team India can utilize for their preparation.
While other boards of the world have cut down the number of T20Is and ODIs to give their players the required rest to bring out the best in them, BCCI is still reluctant to do the same.
Some necessary steps need to be taken from the Board for Control of Cricket in India to help the national team who are searching their winning ways overseas.