Once bitten, twice shy. Or for the Indian team, it could well be translated into twice bitten, third-time shy. After the series defeat in South Africa and England, the BCCI has finally understood the importance of acclimatising to alien conditions before embarking on a Test series and thus, India A tour to New Zealand which has many Test specialists hold significant importance.
The teams will be under the tutelage of Rahul Dravid and players have a great opportunity to learn the art of not only competing but winning matches in overseas conditions. India Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Murali Vijay, Prithvi Shaw, Parthiv Patel and Hanuma Vihari figure in the A squad for the first unofficial Test, scheduled in Mount Maunganui from November 16.
"I think it will be a very good opportunity for some of the boys who are requested by the senior team management to be a part of the A tour," Dravid told bcci.tv.
Although the conditions in New Zealand are vastly different to Australia, Dravid believes that the senior players in the squad can learn a great deal from the unofficial Test matches.
'Good opportunity in the lead up to International tours'
"They will be able to gain some match-time experience even if the conditions are not going to be exactly the same or it is not like being in Australia. The A team format is pretty competitive and it is a match-time experience. It is a good opportunity in the lead up to international tours," Dravid assessed.
The legendary batsman also believes that such tours give a great chance for the younger players in the squad to pick the brains of established names in international cricket and Indian cricket benefits in the end.
"From Indian cricket's perspective by organising these tours, we can give the boys a better chance to prepare for an international series. It is exciting to have the senior boys with us. The objective for us is to prepare them for Australia and at the same time, the younger boys get an opportunity to share the dressing room with them," the former Indian captain added.
The former Test cricketer also says that by organising such shadow tours before the actual Test series is a great way to keep everyone on their toes and keep the players in good nick which will give them benefits when the Tests start. India play the first Test match on December 6 at the Adelaide Oval.