India seek extra tour game in Australia

The BCCI has made a late request to Cricket Australia, asking for an additional warm-up game during India's tour in December

Nagraj Gollapudi
India's dethroning as the World No. 1 hits the front pages back home, August 14, 2011

The debacle in England has prompted the BCCI to re-think India's preparation in Australia  •  ESPNcricinfo Ltd

The BCCI has asked Cricket Australia for an additional warm-up game during India's tour in December. India are currently scheduled to play only one four-day tour game, against the CA Chairman's XI in Canberra, from December 18.
"We are considering the request and it is work in progress," a CA spokesperson said. "You've got to understand that scheduling is a three-dimensional exercise and it is always difficult to make any changes once things are finalised. But we have always had cordial relations with the BCCI and we should be able to find a way."
Scheduling is, however, likely to be an issue. India have a full series - three Tests and five ODIs - against the visiting West Indies pencilled in between October 29, when they end a home series against England, and that match in Canberra.
The main problem for CA, which had announced its schedule for the 2011-12 home season three days ago, is likely to be the Big Bash League. Australia's domestic Twenty20 competition starts on December 16 and, with players from all six Australian states participating in the eight-team competition, India may have to play a second-string side for the extra warm-up.
India's request comes on the back of a humiliating defeat in the ongoing Test series in England. They trail 0-3 in the series and are in danger of suffering their first 0-4 loss since then tour of Australia in 1991-92, There has been sharp criticism of the team's preparation for the series, in which the No. 1 Test ranking was at stake, from within the BCCI and the media. MS Dhoni, the India captain, and Duncan Fletcher, the coach, have indirectly admitted that one reason India were struggling in English conditions was because they did not have enough to acclimatise.
The late request to CA for an additional warm-up is another example of the lack of planning in the BCCI. Before the 2010-11 tour of South Africa, Gary Kirsten, who was coach at the time, had to press his case to ensure some of the Test players arrived a few weeks early to prepare for the series. Kirsten had sent his request about eight months ahead of the tour but the BCCI granted him permission only at the very last minute.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo