Cape Of No Hope: India apos;s Batsmen Failed To Deliver In South Africa

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Cape of no hope: India's batsmen failed to deliver against South Africa...

But their coaches blame the BCCI's 'bad planning'
By [/home/search.html?s=&authornamef=Baidurjo+Bhose Baidurjo Bhose]
Published: 21:40 BST, 9 December 2013 | Updated: 21:40 BST, 9 December 2013
[ ] [ ] [ ] </a> [/indiahome/indianews/article-2520968/Cape-hope-Indias-batsmen-failed-deliver-South-Africa--But-coaches-blame-BCCIs-bad-planning.html#comments
comments] Virat Kohli has managed to score just 31 runs in the two ODIs

Going into the ODI series in South Africa, a lot of hopes were pinned on the top three Indian batsmen - Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli.

While openers Shikhar and Rohit have managed to score just 12 and 37 runs respectively in the two ODIs so far, Kohli's tally reads a meager 31.

Speaking to Mail Today both Rajkumar Sharma - Kohli's coach - and Madan Sharma - Shikhar's coach - blamed the BCCI's poor planning for the batsmen looking mediocre on the fast and bouncy South African wickets. 

"The boys just didn't get enough time to prepare for the series. Having played a couple of tri-series in India, where the ball doesn't generally rise above the knee-level, you can't expect them to succeed on the wickets in South Africa.

"Ideally, they should have gone in early and played a couple of tour games so that they would get enough time to prepare for the series.

It was more like the South Africans waiting to catch the Indian batsmen off-guard," Rajkumar said.

Shikhar Dhawan has failed to give India a good start in the ODIs in South Africa

Madan echoed the sentiments.

"Shikhar did come for practice one day after the West Indies series and trained with the plastic ball to get used to the bounce. But to be honest, that can't be enough when you have to play the likes of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel on South African wickets. A few tour games would have definitely helped," he said.

Rajkumar said just as one needs time to change gears from ODIs to Test cricket, the same holds true when one has been playing on slow and low pitches in India and is then faced with the challenge of playing on bouncy wickets.

"You must realise that the boys have been accustomed to playing on slow tracks in India and it takes time to adapt to the wickets abroad. Sadly, we don't have the adequate wickets in India to prepare the boys and they have to rely on bowling machines and astroturfs. But for that, you need time," he said.

Madan also feels that the lack of experienced players in the unit is also one of the reasons for the current team failing to rise to the challenge.

"Earlier we have always had players like Rahul Dravid or Sachin Tendulkar to help the boys and guide them. But the current team is full of youngsters," he lamented. 

Bowlers have failed to take advantage
By Shreyas Sharma in New Delhi
India's bowlers, including Ishant Sharma, still look vulnerable

It may have got buried under the rubble of India's batting failures in the ongoing ODI series in South Africa, but the effectiveness of the bowling attack is still a huge worry.

Of late, with the high-scoring series against Australia and West Indies at home, the Indian bowlers' confidence has taken a battering, with only Mohammed Shami leaving a mark.

Now, on the bouncy surfaces in South Africa, where the home pacers have wrought havoc with their accurate short-pitched bowling, the visitors have struggled to hit the right lines and lengths, being carted for 358 and 280 runs in the two matches so far.

A change of personnel for the Durban game didn't help either, as Umesh Yadav went for 45 in his six overs while comeback man Ishant Sharma was a shade better (38 in seven overs).

In the first game, Mohit Sharma had gone for 82 off his 10 and Bhuvneshwar Kumar had conceded 68 off nine.

In two matches, Shami has picked six wickets.

The trouble lies in the alternatives. Of the performances in India's last five series on foreign soil, Bhuvneshwar stands apart with an excellent record of 16 wickets in 10 games at 18.88 and an economy rate of 4.14.

Only Jaydev Unadkat, who played his five matches against Zimbabwe, has a better economy rate. In fact, no one else is under R. Vinay Kumar's rate of 4.94.

In terms of averages, Ishant and Irfan Pathan are around the 26-run mark, but after Shami's 30.58, the next best is Ashoke Dinda's 39.75.

In such a scenario, India have to hope that bowling coach Joe Dawes can finally get through to the pacers and make them understand just how to quickly adapt to various conditions.