3 talking points from South Africa vs India’s 2nd ODI

Indian National Cricket Team is currently touring South Africa for a three-match Test series and a three-match ODI series. After winning the first Test match, India lost the next two games and the Test Series. While a humiliated Indian side vowed to get their revenge in the ODI series, not playing an ODI match for over a year certainly affected their performance. India has been unable to set a tempo in the middle overs, and this has caused them to lose wickets in quick succession and slow down their already slow run rate. India also has a few off-the-field problems to take care of to get their gears working finely. 

3. Discontent among the Team regarding the stand-in captain and ineffectiveness of the bowlers.

With the new limited-overs captain Rohit Sharma missing out the series due to a hamstring injury and former captain Virat Kohli being axed from the role, KL Rahul has been given the onus of leading a talented Indian side. This has proven to be a big mistake. With a relatively lesser experience under his belt, Rahul has been held back by his new role. His attacking instinct has been mellowed down by added responsibility, and he has been over-cautious about his shots. K L Rahul might make a good leader in the future, but one thing is clear. He isn’t the best choice to lead India in the present scenario. 

To add to the injury, India’s bowling unit, barring a certain Jasprit Bumrah, has been nothing short of toothless. The other bowlers have struggled to make a decent impact against the hosts. South African batting line-up has been using this to their advantage by playing out Bumrah’s spell and going after the other bowlers. While the SA pitches hardly offer help to spinners, R. Ashwin has shown encouraging signs with miserly spells in both matches.

2. Fragile Batting and constant collapses.

Both the Iyers have struggled to find their ground while batting, contributing to the fragile middle-order. 

The only positives from the ODI series yet are the reliability of Rishabh Pant and the emergence of Shardul Thakur, the batsman. Shardul Thakur has tried to rescue India in both the matches by scoring runs and that too at a quicker pace. He remained unbeaten on 50 at the first match and scored a decent 40 in the next one, remaining unbeaten in both outings. He has been intelligent with his approach, neither too aggressive nor too passive.

If groomed well, he can become a strong lower middle-order batsman who can contribute with the bowl, making him an effective all-rounder who can give Hardik Pandya a thing or two to worry about. Shikhar Dhawan has been outstanding in his comeback series, being India’s highest run-getter till now. Rishabh Pant has been the hero-on-the-wrong-side in the 2nd match, scoring a top-notch 85 at a progressive strike rate. In the otherwise cautious Indian line-up, Rishabh Pant was the only batsman who looked to be enjoying his time on the pitch and staying true to his natural game, Counter-attacking! 

1. Capitalizing the Random Chances.

South Africa hasn’t been faultless either, but it’s just that they capitalize when they are given an opportunity. The Proteas have misfielded quite a dozen times, but none of them proved too costly for them. India, on the other hand, has dropped some costly catches. 

Image Credits: starsports.com

Ultimately, South Africa’s aggression and attacking intent adding to their familiarity with the pitches, aided the hosts well against a relatively negligent and scratchy Indian side. Rohit Sharma’s leadership and presence have been hugely missed by the squad. Virat Kohli’s sudden decision to resign from Test captaincy has created an insecure atmosphere in the dressing room. India has a lot to build on in the coming months if they want to contest against stronger teams like England, Australia, NZ, and Pakistan. Rahul Dravid has a hell of a task to do if India wants to recover from this embarrassing tour and develop their side to contest in all the formats. This includes grooming newcomers and also grooming some key players to stand in as captains when the situation calls for. Amidst all this drama, a question still stands strong: Can Rohit Sharma guide India to win an ICC trophy in the near future? 

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