Ravi Shastri admitted that if India had another 10 days of preparation in South Africa, things could have been different. Virat Kohli and company landed in Cape Town just six days ahead of the first Test in Cape Town and have been exposed thoroughly on difficult pitches.
"Unfortunately, the schedule was such that you had matches," said Shastri, pointing to the home series against Sri Lanka who played three Tests, as many ODIs and T20Is the last of which ended on December 24. "But I am sure henceforth in the future when itineraries are made that will be taken into account, there is absolutely no doubt about that. You get there a couple of weeks earlier and prepare."
Shastri felt it was not feasible to send a few Test players, who were not part of limited-overs squads, to train in South Africa well ahead of the series.
"There was a thought but then you are disjointed," he pointed out. "Even as a team you are disjointed, who is going to handle things here. Preparation-wise or whatever. Those thoughts can be put in hindsight. But in hindsight I would say the best thing would be, reach there two weeks earlier," he said.
India played most of their matches at home in the last two and half years and fought back well whenever they were pushed to the wall, something that is missing in this series. Shastri put it down to conditions again.
"First of all overseas conditions," he stressed. "Conditions back home, we are familiar with. We shouldn't be in positions back home where you have to fight back as far as I am concerned. We fought back, we did well. Here, conditions are different. In hindsight, I would say another ten days of practice here would have made a difference. But that's no excuse. The pitch we play on, it's the same for both sides and I would rather focus on the 20 wickets we have taken. That had given us a chance in both Test matches to win games. Yes, our top order, if we can fire, it will be a good Test match," he hoped.