Ravi Shastri believes India looked like the best team in the world as they slumped to a Test-series loss in South Africa and feels they paid the price for being underprepared.
Defeats at Newlands and Centurion put the tourists 2-0 down with one match to play in Johannesburg this week.
Yet head coach Shastri says India demonstrated they are the cream of the crop despite Virat Kohli's men slumping to back-to-back defeats against the Proteas.
"We did [look like the number one side]," Shastri said. "We had our moments in both Test matches, and we looked like the number one team when we bowled out South Africa for 130 [in the second innings in Cape Town].
"When we closed the gap thanks to Virat's brilliant innings [in the first innings of the second Test], and had them two down just 30 runs ahead, we looked like the number one team in overseas conditions. Not many teams look half that when they come to India."
Shastri thinks India were undercooked heading into the series against a side ranked second in the world.
"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." he added.
"In hindsight I would say another 10 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 has given us a chance in both Test matches to win games."
He added: "Unfortunately the schedule was such that you had matches [being played too soon before the team left for South Africa]. 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."