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India lacked a roadmap for the England series

I'm wary of confusing acclimatisation with preparation, for it can only be a part of the entire process. Or else, how would one explain India's poor show even in the Test matches? Aakash Chopra writes. Piling it on

india Updated: Aug 13, 2011 02:00 IST
MS-Dhoni-and-VVS-Laxman-leave-the-field-for-bad-light-on-the-third-day-of-the-third-Test-against-England-at-the-Edgbaston-Cricket-Ground-Birmingham
MS-Dhoni-and-VVS-Laxman-leave-the-field-for-bad-light-on-the-third-day-of-the-third-Test-against-England-at-the-Edgbaston-Cricket-Ground-Birmingham

The day we lost the first Test at Lord's, the knives had come out. Experts blamed lack of preparation for India's poor start — we should have played at least a couple of warm-up games to get used to English conditions, they opined.

Even as I echo their sentiments with regards to the benefits of playing more first-class matches prior to a tough tour in alien conditions, I'm wary of confusing acclimatisation with preparation, for it can only be a part of the entire process. Or else, how would one explain India's poor show even in the following two Test matches? After all Team India, by now, has spent nearly a month in England and hence acclimatisation can no longer be an issue.http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/HTEditImages/Images/13_08_11-pg19d.jpg

Lack of foresight
Preparation is a process that requires foresight and a definite roadmap to achieve the desirable. Earlier this year, when England won the Ashes in Australia, it wasn't just because they were a better side during those five Test matches, but because they were better prepared. Their preparation started even before they'd set foot on Australia. It started with identifying the right personnel to do the job in Australian conditions. They needed hit-the-deck-hard bowlers to succeed on hard Aussie tracks and hence Bresnan and Finn were picked. Did we do anything along those lines? The answer is ‘No’.

Even after knowing well which batsmen struggle against the moving ball or against short-pitched deliveries, we didn't do anything.

Some of our batsmen are found wanting not because they suddenly developed certain technical deficiencies, for you don't become a poor batsman overnight. Culprits are the ones who buried their heads in the sand and believed that the ball won't swing much.

Openers’ role
It’s common knowledge that openers play a crucial role in England, for the new ball inflicts maximum damage. Still, we chose to pick only two openers for the first two Tests and so the moment Gautam went down at Lord's, the entire batting order got disrupted. Since there wasn’t another regular opener in the squad, Dravid had to open at Trent Bridge, which meant the two in-form players, Laxman and Dravid, batting out of their favoured position.

One may call it unfortunate, but I’d give England's example once again. When the senior team was engaged against Australia in the Ashes, England's development squad was also touring Australia. If there was ever an injury scare, the replacement was not only there in Australia but also match-ready.