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Updated December 30th, 2023 at 20:32 IST

'Better you spend time at home': Sunil Gavaskar shuts down Rohit Sharma's take after SA defeat

Sunil Gavaskar expresses thoughts after India's overwhelming defeat against South Africa in the 1st Test at the Centurion. India suffered heavy defeat.

Prateek Arya
Sunil Gavaskar
Sunil Gavaskar | Image:PTI
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Team India's legendary batsman, Sunil Gavaskar, responded to Rohit Sharma's argument for India's unwillingness to play first-class practice games on overseas tours, stating that intra-squad matches before a Test series make no sense. Gavaskar's remarks came after India lost the Boxing Day Test against South Africa by an innings and 32 runs in Centurion.

3 things you need to know

  • India lost the 1st Test against South Africa by an innings and 32 runs
  • KL Rahul scored a valiant hundred in the Test
  • India are yet to win a Test series in South Africa

Also Read | South Africa team features a complete transition

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Sunil Gavaskar underlines the need of a practice match

Captain Rohit Sharma was questioned about India's preparations and why the Test regulars chose not to play any first-class competitive matches before the start of the two-match series. The skipper stated that the previous tour games did not provide the ideal pitches or bowling quality, therefore the touring Indian sides chose to play intra-squad matches.

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"Look, this might be the case, I don't know. I just want to say that if you can play against A teams or the domestic champions of the touring country, their players will be looking to impress their selectors. So they will give it their all, be it a fast bowler or a batter," Gavaskar told Star Sports.

Indian players took part in two four-day matches between India A and South Africa A, but the Test regulars were not present. Instead, the week before the Boxing Day Test, they chose an intra-squad practice match in Pretoria.

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Also Read | Nasser Hussain's bold prediction on Indian star

Gavaskar does not fancy intra-squad matches

Gavaskar had dismissed the concept of intra-squad matches after India's underwhelming performances in overseas Tests in recent memory. Despite KL Rahul's 101 in the first innings, India were bowled out for 245 and South Africa secured a 163-run first-innings lead. In response, India mustered only 131 runs, with only Virat Kohli and Shubman Gill reaching double figures.

Gavaskar urges the Indian cricket board (BCCI) to communicate with the opposing board ahead of time and arrange for first-class practice matches.

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"When you plan your preparation for overseas tours, you should have discussions with the home board and request them to play against A teams or domestic champions. By doing so, you stand a good chance of getting good practice," Gavaskar said.

"Playing intra-squad matches doesn't make sense. It's better you spend time at home and come here directly. Why? Your fast bowlers might not want to give their 100 percent in intra-squad matches because there are chances of injuries, say if a fast bowler bowls a bouncer to batters.

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"It's not a recent phenomenon. It has happened in our time also. The problem comes from the difference in conditions. You have to get used to such conditions, you have to play practice matches for that," he added.

Team India came into the series with the objective of ending the deadlock in South Africa, but the wait has prolonged following the loss and the only moral victory from here would be to tie the series. The second India vs South Africa Test will begin on January 3, 2023.

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Published December 30th, 2023 at 20:32 IST

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