Capetown Debacle!!! Should India ring in changes?
Down by 1, India needs to re-group quickly
India frittered away a dream start on Day 1 after having South Africa on the mat at 12 for 3, with one of their best batsman Amla back in the pavilion. But that was not to be. Shami, Bumrah and Pandya were unable to keep the pressure that Bhuvaneshwar Kumar was exerting from one end. And that was enough for experienced campaigners AB DeVilliers and Faf Du Plessis to put up an above par total of 286 in the first innings.
India were imploding in their reply at 92 for 7 before Hardik Pandya’s heroics restored a sense of parity and they ended up just 77 behind.
The second time around, India’s bowlers found better rhythm (at least on the fourth day) and they made short work of the Saffers leaving themselves with 208 to get for a win.
With one of the main bowlers down, one would have thought that India stood a good chance. The start second time around was shaky but hopeful and at 30-0 with just 178 left to get, India may even have harbored hopes of a win.
But the familiar flaws crept in. Shikhar Dhawan misjudged the length (or was too late in playing the ball) resulting in an easy catch in the slips from an intended pull and it was downhill from there on.
There were two partnerships that flattered to deceive and before the end of the fourth day, it was done and dusted. In just three days, they lost to South Africa by 72 runs.
Should India ring in changes? Let us see –
- At the top, perhaps Dhawan can be replaced with Rahul. The reason being that Dhawan is susceptible against the short ball. But wait! so is Rahul! If both put away their hook shot, then it is basically six of one versus half-a-dozen of the other.
- What about Rohit? Is it mind over matter? Normally he has so much time to play his shots in an ODI or a T20 but why does he freeze in tests? Only Rohit can answer this question. Maybe he should open in place of Dhawan and let someone else come in the middle order, giving Rohit the “space” in his mind that he is the vital cog that needs to fire in order for the team to win. Rohit can put runs faster than anyone else in the team, once he gets his eye in.
- Where should Ashwin bat? No. 6 or 8? From a technique standpoint, Ashwin is the better choice. But the consistency needs to be there and this can only come from focus/ wanting to play the ball by its merit/ patience etc. For a batsman who has 4 test centuries, he certainly needs a look in at 6, especially overseas. When Ashwin gets his feet moving, he is a treat to watch – almost like watching VVS in full flow.
- The bowling department can be left alone – I think they did fine.
Let us wait and see what the team’s think tank decides.