The BCCI is putting in place measures that will ensure India play ODI and T20 series overseas before they start playing test cricket. The norm has always been for the test series to be played first and then the shorter formats of the game follow.
This has not worked out very well for Team India as like most test playing nations, they take time to get acclimatized to overseas playing conditions. Two decades ago, touring teams usually had a couple of three day practice matches before entering a test series.
India Learnt A Big Lesson In South Africa
India was unable to play any practice matches before entering the test series in South Africa and that cost the team dearly as the Indians were clearly not prepared for the pace and bounce in South Africa. Once they settled down, they won the third test but lost the series 2-1. While captain Virat Kohli played down the importance of practice matches, head coach Ravi Shastri admitted that his side would have played a lot better if they had the opportunity to play a few warm up games.
The BCCI has decided to give India more time to settle down on foreign tours by fixing up a schedule where the ODI and T20 series is played before the test series. India have a number of important overseas tours coming up and that includes tours to England, Australia and New Zealand.
Will The BCCI Experiment Pay Dividends?
In a statement, Rahul Johri, BCCI CEO said “Based on the feedback that we have got from the team management we had some serious discussions. What we are not doing is that in the summer India is going to England (and) before the first Test match actually starts, India would be in England for over a month and the team would get acclimatized to the conditions. India will play the shorter format first and them come to Test matches”
The question to ask here is how effective will this experiment be? This is because India generally have a different ODI and T20 squad when compared to the Test squad. Some of the key test players do not feature in the shorter format, so the question must be asked as to how this experiment will help these players.
C Pujara, A Rahane, W Saha, R Ashwin, R Jadeja, I Sharma and U Yadav generally do not feature in the shorter formats but are very much a part of the test side. If the BCCI’s idea is to give the test team time to settle down overseas, then how will the following players get exposure when they are not a part of the ODI or T20 team? Time will tell if the BCCI experiment goes on to help Team India.