Kolkata: Senior off-spinner Harbhajan Singh is of the opinion that India's home series against Sri Lanka served little purpose ahead of the gruelling tour of South Africa.
India have already lost the series and are staring at a whitewash against the Proteas.
Questions have been raised about India's preparation for the tour and Harbhajan gave his perspective.
"Look I believe the last Sri Lanka series at home served little purpose. We hardly gained anything out of it. Rather a few players could have gone to South Africa early. If not Dharamsala could have been a great place for preparation," Harbhajan told PTI on the sidelines of the Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
"Its high altitude, cooler weather, seam movement along with bounce would have given them ideal preparation before a tough assignment like South Africa."
There has been a raging debate about Ajinkya Rahane's omission from the first two Tests but Harbhajan feels that there is no guarantee that things would have been different had Rahane played.
"I was checking a few stats. Under Virat, Ajinkya's average is less than 40 over 30 Tests. Also last one year he didn't score that many runs.
"What if Ajinkya played and India were down 0-2, then would we have said that please bring Rohit. One needs to understand the captain's point of view also," the 'Turbanator' opined.
However, he feels that while Rahane omission was a 50-50 call, Bhuvneshwar Kumar should have played.
"Bhuvi is a bigger match-winner in today's date compared to Ishant Sharma. Whenever Bhuvi has performed, India have done well. I still believe all is not lost. We can bounce back and make it 2-1 in Johannesburg," he observed.
"My advice to the team would be to remain positive. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain. So we should go for it," he concluded.
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Both Pujara and Rahane squandered decent starts on a day when the willows of debutant Shreyas Iyer and Shubman Gill produced half centuries against New Zealand in the opening Test here
"BCCI has confirmed (to the) CSA that (the) Indian team will travel for three Tests and three ODIs. The remaining four T20Is will be played at a later date," BCCI secretary Jay Shah said in a statement