With back-to-back series and hard-pressed to prepare for tough away rubbers, India skipper Virat Kohli said the team had no option but to treat the three Tests against Sri Lanka as practice for the South Africa tour.
Kohli said they had “no other choice but be in game situation and think of what’s coming ahead of us”.
That is to convert the Lankan series into a preparatory series of sorts.
For Kohli knows the inherent perils of an under-prepared campaign, and how the warm memories of consistent home triumphs could be erased all at once. “Everyone starts judging players when results come after Test matches. It should be a fair game where we get to prepare the way we want to and then we are entitled to be criticised,” he says. More so, as India have abysmally lost all series outside the sub-continent (barring West Indies), since they drew against South Africa in 2010-11.
Hence, the amplified scrutiny. Kohli knows well that knives will be drawn and twisted from every possibly angle, should they endure another thrashing this time round.
Ideally, he says, there should have been at least a month off so that they could chalk up a preparatory camp as well as give ample recovery time to their nucleus. Or perhaps, there should have been more warm-ups, as was the case in the past, a point former coach Anil Kumble had also vehemently raised several times. Before his only full-fledged overseas tour as coach – the series in West Indies – there was a 10-day camp. But with no scope for either, Kohli says he and his team began looking at the Sri Lanka series as an “opportunity to challenge ourselves and put us in a situation” rather than bolt their home supremacy, which in any case is already ascertained.