The Indian cricket team, have been engaging in some neck to neck battle with South Africa in the Rainbow Nations and currently, Virat Kohli and Co. have found themselves against the winds. After a heroic Durban triumph, India went on to hammer the Proteas in the first three ODIs but let in their flaws to haunt them in a rain curbed Johannesburg ODI. While former veterans stand divided about MS Dhoni, Rohit Sharma being the team’s liability and Virat Kohli being the pivot of India’s batting, former skipper Sourav Ganguly opined that rest of the team have to chip in with the willow in case of their skipper’s early departure besides toning down India’s fault in the Pink ODI loss.
The Prince of Kolkata, penned in his column for TOI, “Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli have continued their dominance with the bat and are really playing very well. The good thing when they bat is that the run-rate remains healthy. If either of them — more so Kohli — are dismissed early, then the others will have to take the innings forward. This didn’t happen in the last 15 overs at the Wanderers.”
Proteas’ gain from the rain might have helped them stay perfect at Wanderers, which Ganguly thinks perished India’s chances, “South Africa managed to pull one back to continue their 100 percent record in pink clothing. There will always be that question whether Saturday’s curtailed game made life easier for them. Well, it just might have.”
“More than the number of overs, however, it is the rain that probably made it difficult for the Indians, especially the spinners, to bowl. Not that the spinners have turned the ball enormously in the previous three games of the series. Rather, it was a question of very poor batting by the South African batsmen which resulted in 21 wickets for the spinners. On Saturday, the moisture in the surface due to the rain actually allowed the ball to skid on to the bat and that helped the South African batsmen,” he enunciated.
The owner of a century in Johannesburg, Sourav also weighed in the psychological boost with AB de Villiers’ come back, as he wrote, “The return of AB de Villiers was also a positive psychological advantage for the Proteas. He may not have got many runs on the board on his immediate return but it was a huge plus to their middle order. The South Africans also probably did the right thing by leaving the spinner out and playing an all-pace attack.”
However, the 45-year-old also gave it to the hosts’ improvisation against the wrist spinners, “The Indian spinners may have had an off day but the shot selections of Miller, Klassen, Markram and Phehlukwayo will keep them interested for the remainder of the series.”
Having said that, the former skipper seemed quite optimistic ahead of the 5th ODI at St George’s Park, “The Indians, however, shouldn’t worry too much about the loss as they have been playing well and can well close the series at Port Elizabeth.”