Former India opener Sunil Gavaskar reckons that India lost the first Test at Edgbaston against England owing to the lack of the practice matches ahead of the five-match series.

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They (Indian team) deluded themselves and everybody by saying that we have been in England for a month. But, you’ve been in England, playing the white-ball,” Gavaskar told India Today, adding You have been playing in England where the bat speed for limited-overs cricket is completely different for bat speed for Test cricket. So that is no preparation

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After finishing the ODI leg of the tour, India had two weeks to prepare for the Tests India but they played only one practice match against Essex, and that too was cut short to just three days. And Gavaskar felt India should have had at least two three-day matches during that period.

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You can have as much as simulated practice with the throw downs etc but it is never the same as in a match, said the batting legend. “So clearly you needed to have more practice. in throwdowns, you can get out and still face the next ball, the bowler can bowl a no-ball but he still gets a wicket but in a match it is a completely different scenario. So, I thought that they should have played a little bit more.

“I can understand that you want to give them two days off and another two days off before the Test match starts. Maybe three and three — six days off. I understand that but you have eight days in-between and in those eight days, there should have been two three-day matches with a gap of couple of days between the matches,” said Gavaskar, who averaged 41.14 in the 16 matches he played in England.

However, Gavaskar was all praise for the Indian skipper Virat Kohli, who scored 149 and 51 in the first Test.

“Virat Kohli is such an exceptional talent that he can take 15 days off and score 100 the next day. He is an exceptional talent. So if he takes time off, no quarrel with that at all but he needs to understand that he is exceptional but the others are not,” Gavaskar said.

He also reckoned that this Indian team has the ability to bounce back and they need to believe in themselves and back their skills.

“I’m very positive still because I believe in this team. Let’s forget what has happened. I believe in this team because I believe that they have the ability. They just need to believe in themselves…the doubts have been created by England after the win in the first Test. So they got to start believing that they can come back and do well,” he added.