Gavaskar Calls for Cricket Practice Matches

Sunil Gavaskar

While cricket fans are still reeling from the thrilling Cape Town Test, where India held a victory over South Africa, legendary Sunil Gavaskar has sounded an alarm.

He calls for immediate action to address India’s “SENA syndrome”—the tendency to lose the first Test on tours of South Africa, England, New Zealand, and Australia.

Cape Town Triumphs, But SENA Concerns Linger: India’s stunning seven-wicket win in Cape Town might seem like a cause for celebration. But Gavaskar sees a deeper pattern. He points out that losing the first Test on SENA tours has become a worrying trend, often forcing India to play catch-up throughout the series.

South Africa’s tour saw two distinct sets of players: those who had already slogged through the T20Is and ODIs, and those like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Jasprit Bumrah joining fresh. While Kohli and Bumrah shone, Rohit unfortunately struggled in all four innings.

Virat Kohli and Bumrah emerged as heroes, but Rohit Sharma’s struggles left Team India with concerns despite the win.

Australia Next: A Crucial Challenge: Gavaskar mentions the importance of the upcoming Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Australia later this year. Maintaining India’s winning streak down under requires meticulous planning from now on.

Practice Makes Perfect: Why Gavaskar Recommends Pre-Series Matches: With a packed test schedule in 2024, including home series against Bangladesh and New Zealand, Gavaskar urges the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to prioritize SENA preparation. He suggests playing practice matches against quality opposition before the Australia tour.

Here’s why practice matches are crucial:

  • Acclimatization to SENA conditions: These countries offer vastly different pitch characteristics and weather compared to India. Practice matches allow players to adjust their strategies and techniques.
  • Form and Rhythm: Finding form and rhythm at the start of a series is crucial for setting the tone. Practice matches provide vital playing time, helping players find their groove.
  • Testing Team Combinations: Experimenting with different bowling and batting combinations in practice matches helps discover the best lineup for the actual series.


Planning Starts Now, Not Later:

Gavaskar stresses the importance of proactive planning. He advocates for immediate consultation between the BCCI, team management, and players to finalize the practice match schedule before the Bangladesh and New Zealand series.

Conclusion: Avoiding the First-Test Trap:

India’s Cape Town victory was exhilarating, but Gavaskar reminds us that the SENA challenge remains. By playing practice matches and strategic planning, India can break the “first-test blues” and conquer Down Under once again.

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