Nagpur, Nov 23 India skipper Virat Kohli on Thursday said a cramped schedule ahead of important challenges such as the South Africa cricket tour sometimes comes in the way of preparations.
India will finish their limited overs matches against Sri Lanka on December 24 (final T20I) before they fly off to South Africa on December 28, with the first Test starting on January 5. They play a two-day warm-up tie, starting on December 30 at Boland Park, Paarl.
In South Africa, the Kohli-led side will play three Tests, five One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and three Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is).
"As usual cramped for time, which I think we needed to assess in future as well because we very easily assess the team when we go abroad but we don't look at how many days we have got to prepare before we go to a particular place to play," Kohli said at the pre-match press conference ahead of their second Test against Sri Lanka starting on Friday.
"And everyone starts judging players when results come after Test matches. But it should be a fair game, where we get to prepare the way we want to and then we are entitled to be criticised. So we thought this (getting seam-friendly wickets at the ongoing series) is an ample opportunity for us to challenge ourselves, put us in a situation (which they expect to encounter in South Africa)," he added.
Kohli admitted that he had asked for bouncy wickets for the home series against Sri Lanka keeping in mind the more tougher tour to South Africa in January.
"Yes (I had), because unfortunately we get only two days before we fly to South Africa after this series gets over. So we have no choice but try to be in a game situation and think of what's coming ahead of us.
"Had we got a month off ideally, we would have done a proper preparation in a camp sort of scenario but we have to sort of make do with what we have," Kohli said.
India drew with the tourists in the first rubber at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
Indian cricketers have been playing non-stop cricket since the start of the IPL which was followed by the ICC Champions Trophy, away tours of West Indies and Sri Lanka and three successive home series against Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka comprising 23 matches (3 Tests, 11 ODIs and 9 T20Is).
After the South African tour ends in February, the Indian Premier League (IPL) will begin in April. Then in July, they will embark on a long tour of England.