Administrators to Indian coach Ravi Shastri: Batting slump unacceptable

Written by Shamik Chakrabarty | Kolkata | Updated: August 14, 2018 4:33:06 am

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In the four innings in two Tests so far, India put up disappointing totals: 274, 162, 107 and 130. (Images via Reuters/Paul Childs)

TAKING NOTE of India’s batting collapses during the Test matches in England, the Committee of Administrators (CoA) overseeing the BCCI is learnt to have communicated to the team’s head coach Ravi Shastri that such performances despite adequate preparation time for the series are “unacceptable”.

In the first Test at Edgbaston, India faltered in their chase of 194 for victory in the fourth innings, losing the match by 31 runs. The Virat Kohli-led team lost the second Test at Lord’s by an innings and 159 runs to trail 2-0 in the five-match series.

“The CoA has already mentioned this to Ravi Shastri, that after having sent the team so much in advance, allowing adequate preparation time (in English conditions), this kind of performance from the top order is not encouraging at all. The Committee has also mentioned in its communication that they need to discuss this with the head coach,” sources told The Indian Express.

“When the team returns, the CoA will have a meeting with the selectors at the first opportunity to discuss some of the procedures,” sources said.

The CoA, headed by Vinod Rai, and the BCCI had faced flak for not allowing the team proper acclimatisation time for their tour of South Africa earlier this year. India had lost the three-Test series 2-1.

For the UK tour, the team left in the last week of June for the limited-overs series in Ireland and England. By the time the first Test commenced on August 1 at Edgbaston, the players had more than a month to get used to English conditions. Top batsmen such as Murali Vijay and Ajinkya Rahane, who didn’t feature in the limited-overs leg, had been sent early to the UK to play red-ball cricket for India A.

However, in the four innings in two Tests so far, India put up disappointing totals: 274, 162, 107 and 130. Kohli scored a hundred in the first innings at Edgbaston and followed it with a half-century in the second innings. But the skipper apart, no top-order batsman got into the thirties. At Lord’s, India’s batting lasted just 82.2 overs both innings combined. England, on the other hand, posted 396 for seven declared in 88.1 overs in their first innings, with Chris Woakes alone scoring 137 not out.

After the first Test, Kohli and R Ashwin spoke about the positives. Following the Lord’s meltdown, the India captain said it was the first time in the last five overseas Tests that his team had been outplayed. India played five overseas Tests this year, losing four and winning one. They posted a 300-plus total only once — in the second Test against South Africa at Centurion, where Kohli scored 153.

Former Test captain Sunil Gavaskar slammed India’s preparation for the Test series in England. “I can understand that you need to switch off after a (limited-overs) series but that can’t be five days at a stretch,” he said. He also criticised the Indian team management’s decision to shorten a first-class tour game against Essex, making it more of a practice match.

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