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Sunil Gavaskar Blames Lack Of Practice For India’s Centurion Debacle
By CricShots - Dec 29, 2023 11:37 am
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Sunil Gavaskar, the legendary Indian batsman, delivered a stern analysis of India’s crushing defeat in the Centurion Test against South Africa, raising a critical question: was the lack of practice matches the Achilles heel of their performance? The Proteas comprehensively crushed India by an innings and 32 runs, exposing glaring weaknesses in the touring team’s preparation.

Kagiso Rabada
Kagiso Rabada cleaned up Rohit Sharma

While KL Rahul’s fighting century and Virat Kohli’s gritty 76 provided brief flickers of hope, the entire Indian batting order collapsed under the relentless South African bowling attack. Gavaskar, dissecting the team’s shortcomings, zeroed in on the glaring absence of warm-up matches as a potential turning point.

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“It’s simple – you didn’t play any matches here,” Sunil Gavaskar asserted on Star Sports. “Jumping straight into Test matches doesn’t work. Yes, the India A team toured, but they should have come before the main tour.” His point resonated strongly, echoing the belief that practical experience against unfamiliar conditions is crucial for success.

Sunil Gavaskar
Sunil Gavaskar

Sunil Gavaskar further questioned the effectiveness of intra-squad practice matches. “Intra-squad games are a joke,” he scoffed. “Fast bowlers won’t bowl with full intensity against their teammates, fearing injuries. They won’t unleash bouncers or replicate the match pressure.” His words highlighted the limitations of simulated scenarios compared to the real deal.

Adding to the intrigue, the Indian team’s pre-Boxing Day Test preparation in Pretoria remained shrouded in secrecy. Opting for a closed-door practice session at the Tuks Oval, just a stone’s throw from the Centurion where they stumbled, the team under coach Rahul Dravid kept their strategies hidden from prying eyes. This approach, mirroring closed-door training sessions in global football, fueled further speculation about India’s tactics and their response to the Centurion debacle.

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While the ‘Closed Door’ policy may have its tactical advantages, Gavaskar’s analysis raises a pertinent question: could a stronger focus on practice matches against local teams have potentially tipped the scales in India’s favor? As the series progresses, the answer will lie in how the team adapts to unfamiliar conditions and whether their Centurion experience serves as a harsh wake-up call or a mere blip in their journey.