Indian captain Virat Kohli on Thursday (November 23) said his team would have ideally wanted a month's time to get themselves ready for the tour to South Africa, which will have three Tests, six ODIs and three T20Is between January 5 and February 24, 2018.
The 29-year-old's comments came after he was asked during a press conference on the eve of second Test between India and Sri Lanka, whether the team management had asked for green pitches in the ongoing three-match series keeping in mind the challenging conditions in South Africa.
The captain replied in the affirmative and said the team has been forced to make do with "cramped" preparation time.
Notably, India will complete the T20I series against Sri Lanka on December 24 and will reportedly leave after a three-day break on December 28.
'Everyone starts judging'
"Yes we're looking at this [green pitches at home] as an opportunity [to prepare for South Africa]. Unfortunately we have got only two days to get on the flight to South Africa after this series [Sri Lanka] gets over. So we had no choice, but to be in game situation and think of what is ahead for us," Kohli told reporters in Nagpur today (November 23).
He added: "Had we got a month of preparation time (ideally), we could have done a proper preparation camp. We have to make do with what we have. As usual it is cramp for time, which we need to assess in future as well.
"We very easily assess a team when we go abroad, but we don't look at how many days we got to prepare before we go to particular place. Everyone starts judging players when results come after Test matches. But it should be a fair game, we should get to prepare the way we want to and then we're entitled to be criticised.
"We thought this is an ample opportunity for us to challenge ourselves, put us in a situation where we want to embrace being in difficult conditions.
"I am not saying everyone will go out and perform immediately. But if we can feel comfortable about it, after one, two or three innings, someone will come good and we can build on that. It applies for the bowlers as well."
Going by this statement of Kohli, one might think the skipper is offering an excuse in case of failures in South Africa.
Preparation camp at NCA?
Meanwhile, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) acting general secretary Amitabh Chaudhary revealed earlier this month that they would try and squeeze in a preparatory camp ahead of the South African series. The Test regulars are expected to train at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru as part of the camp.
Kohli continues to be vocal about hectic schedule
While Kohli is expected to be rested for the limited-overs series against South Africa, quite a few big names, including Shikhar Dhawan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, are expected to play in the shorter format as well.
Kohli had also expressed reservation about the amount of cricket Team India has been playing in the recent past. Since the Champions Trophy, the Asian giants have played full series on the road against the West Indies and Sri Lanka and limited-overs series against Australia and New Zealand at home.
The Indian captain had even pointed out how New Zealand cricket team took a long break after the Champions Trophy and resumed playing only during the recently-concluded limited-overs series in India.