India in South Africa 2010-11 October 21, 2010

BCCI agrees to send players early to South Africa


The BCCI has approved the Indian team management's request to send a group of Test players early to South Africa to get "acclimatised" to the conditions and make up for the absence of practice games before the three-Test series that begins on December 16. It is not yet clear who the concerned players are and how many will be part of the group which is expected to depart immediately after the third Test against New Zealand on November 24. India and New Zealand play a five-match ODI series that concludes on December 10, six days prior to the first Test in Centurion.

Ratnakar Shetty, the BCCI's chief administrative officer, confirmed the development, stating the request had come from coach Gary Kirsten. "The plan now is to send some of the Test players early. The team management and the coach expressed the desire that there is a need for acclimatisation in South Africa," Shetty said. In his discussions with the board, Kirsten had emphasised the importance of early preparation and had pointed out India's 1-2 series defeat on their last trip to South Africa in 2006-07. Back then, India were ranked No. 4 on the Test ladder. However, this time, India go into the series at No.1, a ranking they've held on to since beating Sri Lanka in December 2009.

The board's nod is a small victory for Kirsten, who has been busy putting a structure in place as part of his plans for the future. It is understood that as early as February this year Kirsten asked the BCCI to consider rescheduling the home series against New Zealand. He wanted to cull the three-Test series to two. This would have served the dual purpose of giving rest to the core group of seven to eight players and providing them ample time to recover to get an early feel of South African conditions. But the board's response was not favourable at first.

However, immediately after the Sri Lanka series in August this year, Kirsten was informed that a few Test players could leave for South Africa early. Kirsten then sent an email - a copy of which is available with ESPNcricinfo - to this team management. "There is no change to NZ schedule and we will play last ODI on the 10th Dec," the e-mail read. "It has however been agreed to get as many Test players as possible to South Africa early and we will rotate players during ODI series against NZ."

For the ongoing ODI series against Australia, at least five first-choice players were rested in order to keep them fresh for the Test series. Shetty mentioned that the same exercise would be repeated in the five-match ODI series against New Zealand. He said his was part of the drill to keep the Indian team in the perfect shape for the World Cup.

"The process has started already. Except MS Dhoni, no senior player is there in the present ODI team (for the Australia series). Despite that our team performed really well yesterday. I hope this will work because this is one way the team management is working out a plan towards the World Cup," Shetty said. At the same time, he said, it was an opportunity for youngsters to excel and make a point in the lead-up to the World Cup.

Dhoni had recently echoed these sentiments. India play 12 more ODIs before the World Cup, hosted jointly by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, gets underway in February next year, and Dhoni wanted to make sure his first-choice players aren't hampered by fatigue or injury. "In last few series, we have not played with our strongest side and rested most players. Maybe injuries were a bit more concern, we are a bit cautious," said Dhoni. "We don't want our big players to get injured before a tournament especially when it's happening in India. Hopeful everyone will get fit for World Cup."

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • suren on October 25, 2010, 11:43 GMT

    an important preparation that India seems to miss on previous SA tours. Is the high ball whizzing past the Indian batmans head, nose and other things. The response from Indian mangement and coaching staff is they are not used to the pitches. One hopes they have now remembered their past experiences and make some preparation and no excuses.

  • Aditya on October 24, 2010, 17:38 GMT

    my team for odi vs nz vijay,dhawan,uthappa,yuvi(c),kohli,parthiv(wk),yusuf/irfan,rp singh/shreesanth,praveen,ashwin,munaf

  • rahul on October 24, 2010, 8:10 GMT

    if they wanted to give chance to new babys make arragement for india a ,newziland a australia seres. it will realey kill the popularity if top players wont play 50 over match. witha out sachin ,sahwag ,rahul, laxman,dhoni ,raina,khan,harbajan no body fill it is a indian senior team. and the end of 50 over match and 20 over become more important than 50 over match.

  • Dummy4 on October 24, 2010, 6:39 GMT

    This is a right opportunity to test our bench strength by looking ahead the post-era of Dravid,Sachin & Laxman. Pujara,Rahane & Badrinath can be filled in their boots during the New Zealand Series. Accordingly, the senior players will have abundant time before SA Test Series. We have to develop a bench strength otherwise,we have to see the decline of Indian Test Cricket,the way Australia is falling.Our bench strength has not been tested in different conditions as most of the games were played in Indian. Murali Vijay has been performing well however,he terribly failed in Zimbabwe against a second string of bowlers. I hope our reserve test players will have a fair chance to play some cricket in SA Series as well. Most of the present players are used to south african conditions thanks to IPL & CL touraments.The most important concern points to bowling strength which is going to be a real nightmare for ardent indian cricket fans.

  • Dummy4 on October 23, 2010, 6:53 GMT

    @Rakesh_ Sharma I think you have only a passive interest in the game which tells about your some of the inconsequential comments.The wickets in England are generally flat and the Oval and Lord's had many boring draws in recent times.Only the overcast conditions makes the ball talk and the pitch flats out with the advent of the beaming Sun.India will always tour in the latter half because it will be much more commercially viable than having say a Srilanka.Thats why India,South Africa and Australia will always play in the latter half of the their summer.South Africa can also have flat pitches just like the last Eng-SA series with two draws.But surely not many Cricket boards want to finish matches in just 2-3 days thats why you will never find a tinge of grass in sub-continental wickets.

  • Sanjay on October 23, 2010, 3:27 GMT

    I hope we are playing atleast 2 practice games before the test series. I would also keep my fingers crossed because of the tendency of our batsmen to collapse in atleast 1 inning of the series after that they wake up from the slumber. The last time we came really close to winning the test series but a miserable batting performance in the 2 innings of the last test hurt us big time anyways Goodluck to the team but victory in SA looks difficult i wouldnt be to optimistic about it...

  • Amol on October 23, 2010, 0:28 GMT

    Tendulkar has just 3 centuries in SA and overall after so many matches there, his Avg is still sub-40: well below his Career Centuries/Avg. Unlike IN AUS, where he has a good six centuries and a great Avg of 58-something. I still can recall vividly how The White Lightning (Alan Donald) tore Sachin's stumps multiple times. Nobody does to Sachin in **Tests**. But the awesome form that he is in today, I would like to see 3 centuries in as many matches in Dec. If he does that to Steyn/Morkel, his runs will be well-deserved. Overall, our IND bowlers are going in for a spanking for sure.

  • Amol on October 23, 2010, 0:07 GMT

    @Rakesh_Sharma: ("The matches can only become interesting when pitches are fast and lively") CORRECTLY SAID. I simply hate pitches here in our IND since they are mostly flat and just end into deadly-boring high-scoring draws. Sadly, our frustrated sadistic local public loves the bowlers being hit EVERY SINGLE TIME, EVERY SINGLE BALL. And that has resulted in the degradation of tests here in our IND.

  • Rakesh on October 22, 2010, 21:59 GMT

    Of late almost any cricket event is made so as to favour Indian team due to commercial reasons . For example matches in England during their tours are kept in the later part of summer when pitches generally tend to be more flatter and swing relatively less than in late may or June. Also take case of Perth where flat pitch is surprisingly prepared which helped Indians. I will not be surprised if the pitches in South Africa are flat just as the pitches in India so that it helps Indian batsmen. The matches can only become interesting when pitches are fast and lively with Steyn and Morkel bowling at full steam not when the same bowlers are bowling on dead tracks. Even the best bowlers are turned ordinary on flat tracks. Hope and pray the pitches( By chance) become very bouncy fast bowler friendly.

  • Vivek on October 22, 2010, 21:30 GMT

    The Original test squad should play all the tests vs. both NZ and SA. extra practice in test mantches wont hurt a bit.

    MY ODI SQUAD FOR THE FIRST 4 ODIs AGAINST NEW ZEALAND: Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni, Saurabh Tiwari, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Praveen Kumar, Ashish Nehra, Munaf Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Murali Vijay.

    MY ODI SQUAD FOR THE LAST ODI AGAINST NEW ZEALAND: Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Yuvraj Singh (CAPTAIN), Saurabh Tiwari, Robin Uthappa (WICKET KEEPER), Ravichandran Ashwin, Praveen Kumar, Ashish Nehra, Munaf Patel, Vinay Kumar, Ambati Rayudu, Irfan Pathan, Abhinav Mukund / Rohit Sharma

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