The Test debacles in England and Australia showed how big a challenge India face in the near future, especially while playing abroad. However, there is little sign the cricket board is addressing the issue as the start to the India 'A' team's three-day camp at the Ferozshah Kotla showed.
Landing straight from the glitzy IPL, the players bound for the West Indies arrived on Sunday morning only to find there were no proper nets or good net bowlers. A warm-up and gentle knocking was all they got before packing up.
There seemed to be a clear lack of coordination between the BCCI and the Delhi association. The DDCA expressed helplessness. “The problem is, wickets in our practice areas are worn out and they didn't want to use them. And we don't allow anyone to practice in the middle as it spoils the pitches and the ground. We have worked extremely hard to keep them in good condition,” DDCA vice-president, Chetan Chauhan, said.
So, why were the practice pitches not prepared? And if the DDCA was unable to host the camp, why didn't it inform the board? A pitch expert said it would take at least a couple of days to prepare the net pitches.
Chauhan also said the team management did not ask for net bowlers, which was refuted by the coach, Lalchand Rajput. Regardless of who is telling the truth, one can't really expect the couple of pacers in the squad to bowl to all the batsmen, especially in the searing Delhi heat.
The short camp was mainly to provide practice to those players who didn't get to play much in the IPL, but the poor planning appears to have defeated the purpose. The BCCI's idea of holding the camp without the full squad is also difficult to understand. While some of the players were featuring in the IPL final, some others like Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan were yet to join the squad.
This casual approach is even tougher to understand considering how important the tour is. A few positions are up for grabs in the Test squad after a long time, and the tour could establish the pecking order amongst the contenders.
Could something like this have happened in the IPL? No chance.