JOHANNESBURG: So far, the tour of South Africa has been a reality check for the Indians. Following a stream of success at home and on favourable away conditions, for the first time, Virat Kohli and Co. have come across some severe criticisms here at the Rainbow Nation, following back to back defeats in Cape Town and Centurion.

Undoubtedly for captain Kohli and his team, it is an unfamiliar situation. The external pressure is certainly getting to them and any outsider can easily notice it through the difference in opinion between two of the most unlikely persons – Kohli and Ravi Shastri.

It is open secret these days that the skipper Kohli is head-coach Shastri’s blue-eyed boy in the team. We are all aware of the strong bond which both of them share with each other. However, in their last few media interactions, the duo has presented two completely diverse viewpoints, regarding India’s preparations for this tour of South Africa.

The coach believes a better preparation ahead of the tour would have helped the side. According to him, 10 more days of acclimatisation period would have helped the boys immensely. He even went on to mention that in future before finalising the schedule of a challenging tour, the team management would sit down with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and rectify this mistake.

“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 am sure henceforth in the future when itineraries are made that [enough time for acclimatisation] will be taken into account, there is absolutely no doubt about that. You get there a couple of weeks earlier and prepare,” Shastri mention during a media interaction here in Johannesburg.

Interestingly, prior to the tour, the BCCI did offer to send the Test specialists early to South Africa, but that time, the team management shot the idea down.

"There was a thought [to send the Test specialists early] but then you are disjointed," Shastri added. "Even as a team, you are disjointed. Who is going to handle things here? Preparation-wise or whatever. Those thoughts can be put out in hindsight. But, in hindsight, I would say the best thing would be, reach there two weeks earlier."

The Indian team reached South Africa on December 28 and began training on December 30. They took a break on January 1 and had a total of five days of practice before the first Test which started from January 5. Interestingly, the team cancelled the only warm-up game prior to the series as well as did not train on the day before the Cape Town Test.

Meanwhile, countering this view, Kohli in his pre-match presser on Tuesday clearly said that the dismal result in this tour so far is not a result of lack of proper preparations. For him, the team got enough time to get used to the conditions in South Africa. He mentioned the same point

"I personally don't feel that we didn't feel prepared starting this series. I won't sit here and point that out after losing a Test series. We had a week to prepare ourselves, five days because one day we were travelling. So, we had that, and we went ahead with that,” the skipper said, when asked if he was going to follow up on what the coach suggested and make sure the mistake is not repeated on future tours.

When the team goes through a bad phase, there are supposed to be a difference in opinions inside the camp. However, as well-wishers and stakeholders, we can only hope that something constructive will come out from these different points of views and it can only benefit the side in upcoming tours of England and Australia later this year.