India A v WI A, 1st unofficial Test, Mysore, 4th day September 28, 2013

'Opting to bowl a mistake' - Pujara

ESPNcricinfo staff

After losing the first unofficial Test to West Indies A in Mysore, India A captain Cheteshwar Pujara admitted that his decision to bowl first had backfired. The match was dominated by the West Indies spinners who exploited a slow pitch and shared 19 wickets between them to bowl out the hosts for 152 on the final day to win by 162 runs.

India went in with three seamers - Mohammad Shami, Ishwar Pandey and Ashok Dinda - but the conditions didn't assist them as expected. West Indies picked only two specialist seamers but the bulk of the bowling was done by the spinners Nikita Miller, Veerasammy Permaul and the part-timer Narsingh Deonarine.

"We went in with three pacers and found nothing in the pitch for them, not even reverse swing," Pujara said. "Personally, I thought we should have batted on winning the toss. Opting to bowl was a mistake."

The seamers picked only two wickets in the first innings, but the offspinner Parvez Rasool was the most effective bowler, bowling 45 overs for a five-wicket haul. West Indies piled on 429 and India in response conceded a lead of 184. West Indies batted again and set India a target of 315 to chase on the final day, but the hosts' batting faltered again to spin. Pujara said the plan was to go for a win.

"If we had wickets in hand we could have chased the target," he said. "We needed a very good start for that. But we lost three wickets before lunch. Later, as the ball became older, it was tougher to bat."

Manpreet Juneja was the only Indian batsman to impress in both innings, with scores of 84 and 70 and Pujara praised him for his application on a tough wicket. "He batted really well, given the kind of wicket he was batting on. He has a lot of talent and I think he has a good future."

West Indies A captain Kirk Edwards praised his side for a "clinical" performance with a special mention to his spinners. The left-arm spin duo of Permaul and Miller took five-wicket hauls in the first and second innings respectively, the latter bowling 36.4 overs in the final day and conceding only 40.

"Miller was top class. Every time I called on him he responded in a positive way," Edwards said. "He delivered in the first innings and when I asked him to use the new ball in the second innings he responded as well. He's one of the most experienced members of the team and he stepped up with the bat in the first innings and with the ball both times when we bowled.

"Permaul is a very confident player and is always relaxed. He helps to take the pressure off his team-mates and keep the pressure on the opposition, as we saw on both occasions when we bowled. He has played at the highest level before and is showing the benefits."

The teams head to Shimoga for the second unofficial Test starting on Wednesday.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Steve on October 1, 2013, 12:51 GMT

    Very disappointed with Puara's assessment. Some of the players already players already played international cricket, while some are knocking on it. They are expected to battle pitch and weather conditions when they don't suit them! Even mediocre players can succeed when conditions totally favor them. So, please don't offer excuses and show what you are made of!

  • Naresh on September 30, 2013, 9:11 GMT

    @jose Puliampatta - Yeah Juneja is a rare talent in the Pujara mould. At least we have another test class batsman. I must say I was shocked when I checked on the guys stats especially his 1st class average. He deserves a look-in in the senior side. Zol and Lokesh Rahul need to be nurtured as well still young. Uthappa could be groomed for a Shewag odi role - consistency is a problem. Nice to see Yuvraj back and hope Zaks can make a comback like yuvi did.

  • Sathyen on September 30, 2013, 7:45 GMT

    Excuses have always been the bane of Indian cricket. If we lose, we always whine about the fact that our team was weakened due to factors X, Y and Z and don't give the due to the opposition be it the 'A' team or the Senior Team. Yes, many of our next line of stars were not available due to one reason or the other but credit has to be given to the Windies team for notching up the win inside 4 days. People who say this is not the strongest "A" team needs to go one year back when the likes of Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Pujara, Mukund, Dinda, Rahane, Shammi Mohamad, Rahul Sharma who are all fringe players even today (Except Shikhar of course) got beaten by almost similar looking Windies A team last year in West Indies. Moreover, the primary objective of "A" team tours is to create the next line of stars and a win or loss doesn't matter.As long as we are able to unearth a new talent in such a series its fine irrespective of the result.

  • Jay on September 29, 2013, 20:01 GMT

    As much as the WI A team played well, sensible cricket followers will quickly realize that this was an Indian 'C' team with pretty much NO international experience except Pujara. So I wouldn't be cock-a-hoop if I were a WI supporter. Sure, Nikita Miller and Permaul bowled well on a helpful surface against 'kids' who have never faced a decent opposition before. Most of the Indian players with genuine world class experience and quality were playing the Challenger Trophy. I wouldn't be bothered about this result at all. India has some of the BEST talent available in world cricket and it is evident from our recent successes. Once the CLT20 is over, our 'A' team will be back to full strength.

  • Dummy4 on September 29, 2013, 19:39 GMT

    Sandt, with 4 Indian teams busy with CLT & 4 other teams in the Challenger trophy, what is left for the A-side ?

    Look at the guys otherwise occupied -

    Openers - Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Gambhir, Sehwag, Chand, Robin Uthappa, Rahane. Middle Order bats - Rayadu, Kohli, Yuvaraj, Badri, Sachin, Raina, Menaria, N Ojya Wicket Keepers - Karthik, Parthiv, Dhoni, Samson. All rounders - Jadeja, Bhatia, Nayyar Spinners - Misra, Chawla, Ashwin, Bhajji, Ojha Seamers - Yadav, Ishant, Bhuvi, Awana, Praveen, Mohit I do not have the list of injured players with me as of now.

    Only 2 of the top 40 cricketers in India was playing for this India A.

    An A-side is normally the 2nd line of selections, whereas in what they fielded here - except Pujara & Rasool, almost none of the others have a hope at least in the near to medium term.

    BCCI have as usual botched up the Indian Cricket program. What should have been an opportunity to test our bench strength became a free hand-out.

  • sam on September 29, 2013, 14:32 GMT

    @Jose Puliampatta Mate, hilarious if you thought Yusuf Pathan was a talent. I have always thought he was rubbish; can't bat, can't bowl and can't field. His only claim to fame is bullying non-spinning spinners and pace-less (and swing-less) medium pacers in domestic cricket and IPL. He brother was a fine talent (at least in limited overs cricket) whom we lost because of mismanagement and injury.

  • Android on September 29, 2013, 12:20 GMT

    west indies outplayed a weakened india a test will come with sehwag gambir and khan in the team. WI will do well to draw next 2.

  • Dummy4 on September 29, 2013, 11:38 GMT

    Just like Yususf, Gambhir, & perhaps Veeru proved that we have to look elsewhere for India's future batsmen, guys like Dinda, Bhajji & (again Yusuf) have proved that it is the same case with them, when it comes to bowling.

    Regarding Sachin & Zak I had, on many an occasion, suggested that they should be part of the support team! And, not competing with youngsters for a place in the playing XI!