Shastri appeals for warm-up games before Australia Test series

Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli
With a tight schedule and a memorandum of understanding already formulated there is very little you can do, Ravi Shastri said. Photo: AFP
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New Delhi: Facing backlash over the decision of not playing enough warm-up games ahead of the England tour, Indian head coach Ravi Shastri has revealed requesting the BCCI to arrange for a couple of practice matches before the Austrtalia tour kicks off later this year.

Ahead of the five-Test series, which it lost 1-4 to England, India played one warm-up game. Even the lone four-day practice match against county side Essex was reduced to three days amid high drama over the condition of the pitch and the outfield, both of which apparently left the visitors unhappy.

On Thursday, Shastri said he was not averse to the idea of playing practice games.

"Absolutely not. Why would we be? You can only see the results (in the England Tests). Every time after the second Test we have improved. You can still get better. But why can't we be in that position in the first Test match?," he was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.

Shastri, though, was doubtful if practice games for the tour Down Under could be arranged due to a crammed schedule.

"If you have two or three games against weaker sides we don't mind because it is a game. But when you have a schedule as tight as this and when you have a memorandum of understanding that has already been formulated, with a choc-a-bloc calendar, there is very little you can do. Now, we have requested for a couple of games in Australia before the Test series. But is there space (to play those matches)? That is the question," he wondered.

India captain Virat Kohli had defended their decision of not playing enough warm-up games, saying such matches weren't always useful as oppositions were often of poor quality and pitches not similar to to the ones prepared for the Test matches.

India's Australia tour will start with a three-match T20I series, beginning November 21.

"Ideally we would want two three- or four-day games before a Test series. But do you have the time? For example, we have a T20 series in Australia preceding the Test series. There is a 10-day gap before the first Test. These are things that have been approved earlier. It is not in our control."

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