“To win a Test match, you need to take 20 wickets, we have taken 20 wickets”. In India, people treat the sport as a religion and also has the largest fan base in the cricketing world.
India on Sunday hinted at a recall for Ajinkya Rahane in the third cricket Test against South Africa, days after his omission from the first two matches of the series raised eyebrows.
In such a scenario, it is too much to expect the administrators to think seriously about Test cricket and providing enough space and time for the players to prepare for a serious Test of skills.
The one silver lining in India’s humiliating defeats in Cape Town and Centurion was the performance of their fast bowling attack, and Simons took note of it. “Once you start scoring runs, you will be there”, the erstwhile captain said.
Boucher is the coach of Titans that is home to Aiden Markram, Lungi Ngidi and Dean Elgar. “Everyone has chipped in”. De Villiers admitted that he was surprised by the Indian bowling attack, who didn’t have trouble bowling at high-altitude in Centurion.
The first century from India’s side came from Kohli, who made 153 in their first innings of 307. “The previous game at Newlands (where South Africa won by 72 runs) was nearly on fast forward”. The India camp is expressing surprise at BCCI’s lack of empathy towards serious requests that had been made to ensure that “inconsequential cricket” is cut down as much as possible and players are given the necessary breaks, especially ahead of long overseas tours. Nobody else could stand up for the Indians, and Du Plessis believes that has been one of the major differences between the sides. “Those small nitty-gritty 70s, 80s, all count as well. AB de Villiers comes close to him but he may be a little bit better in the One-day games”. As the top Test nation, they couldn’t be faulted for believing in their ability to adapt quickly, though the decision is now being questioned in the wake of their 2-0 loss.
Harbhajan, who has played 100 Tests and 236 ODIs for India, is leading Punjab in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament in the knockout round on Sunday. Never a big “mover”, this minor tweak messed up his judgement in Cape Town and he ended up playing more than leaving, and missing more than playing.
This contest against India is proving far tougher. “There was no sense in playing a weak team for one and a half month when we should be preparing for South Africa”, Bedi said.
While no one expected Hardik Pandya to play the first Test, he was drafted in by Kohli which was a very bold move. Of particular interest is how they have kept Quinton de Kock – the only batsmen not to score a fifty – quiet. Ashwin, surprisingly, returned post Adelaide and hasn’t missed a game since.
All that may be secondary to proceedings at the Wanderers next week, where a fire-and-brimstone surface is being prepared and the chances of most batsmen reaching a century severely diminished. Test cricket is a test of technique and temperament, loads of which are needed if a team is to win everywhere, as the great Australian teams of Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting did, as did Clive Lloyd’s Windies of an earlier era.