The T20I series against Sri Lanka concluded three days before India were scheduled to leave for South Africa for a full tour © AFP
The T20I series against Sri Lanka concluded three days before India were scheduled to leave for South Africa for a full tour © AFP

Sri Lanka’s tour of India concluded three days before India were scheduled to leave for South Africa. The scheduling of the series has been severely criticised as it lacked little interest and playing a struggling Sri Lankan side was not an ideal preparation for the tough South African tour, India’s first tour out of subcontinent in three years.

It is being learnt now that neither the Indian players nor the team management was interested in the Sri Lanka series but BCCI went ahead as Pakistan’s tour of India, originally scheduled during this time, was not happening.

A report in The Times of India states: “The Indian team and the team management had conveyed to the BCCI that it needed to tweak the series against Sri Lanka – by either cancelling the three T20 matches or by replacing the Test series with six ODIs at best – so that the team could be free at least two weeks earlier than what turned out to be the case.”

However, BCCI had given the team an offer to leave for South Africa early but the team did not see any logic in sending one or two individuals early as the side wanted to travel together. To avoid burnout, Hardik Pandya was rested for the Sri Lanka Tests.

India wasted time playing Sri Lanka ahead of South Africa tour, reckons Bishan Singh Bedi
India wasted time playing Sri Lanka ahead of South Africa tour, reckons Bishan Singh Bedi

“What purpose does it solve to send Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane alone? A team stays together and that’s what the focus was. As for the practice game, well, they (Cricket South Africa) offered us two lame tracks for the warm-up game and it made more sense to do our own thing instead of playing an odd game for the sake of it,” a member from the team India camp was quoted.

India and South Africa will play the third and the final Test at Johannesburg, starting 24th January.