Sunil Gavaskar has lashed out at the Indian cricket team as they decided not to play practice games ahead of the series against South Africa. But Gavaskar has reserved some special praise for Hardik Pandya who played 93-run knock and stated that the all-rounder is getting better with every game.
After playing a home series against Sri Lanka, Team India visited South Africa for a full-fledged tour, but in the first Test, the hosts handed India a 72-run loss. Earlier, Indian cricket team was scheduled to play a practice game against South Africa Board President’s XI, but the Indian team canceled their practice matches and planned to hire a ground for training sessions with their own bowlers.
Gavaskar pointed out the problems that the Indian batsmen faced while facing the short balls on fast pitches was visible in the first Test.
“Dhawan has been troubled by the short ball in South Africa as well as Australia, and he perished again, this time attempting a
“Pujara also got one that bounced more than he anticipated and was taken by Quinton de Kock. On the bouncier pitches, if a batsman does not use the back foot or the depth of the crease, he is not going to find it easy. That is the reason there should be practice games where batsmen will get the chance to get used to the ball bouncing towards the shoulders.
"No amount of practice against your quick bowlers, even if they are bowling from 18 yards, will give the same feeling as playing local bowlers who are more than 6 feet tall.”
However, the Indian bowlers especially the pace battery showed a great temperament as they wrapped the hosts at 286 and 130 in the first and second innings respectively.
“India's new ball bowlers have seldom bowled as splendidly as they did at the Newlands Cricket Ground in Cape Town. Sure, the conditions suited them perfectly as the covering of the pitch and rains throughout the third day's play meant that the grass wasn't mowed off as it is every morning before the start of play. There was also a bit of cloud cover which helped the ball to move a bit more and had the Proteas batsmen in trouble. Only the classy AB de Villiers looked in any sense of ease,” he added.
On day 1 of the Test, Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the man who made handed India a slight advantage as he sent three South African players when the scoreboard read only 12 runs. In South Africa’s second innings Mohammed Shami proved why he has been considered as one of the best fast bowlers from India in foreign conditions and he was well supported by debutant Jasprit Bumrah as both claimed three wickets each. India had high expectations from Pandya and the 24-year-old didn’t disappoint as he managed to score an impressive 93 on a track that saw just three half centuries, including his, being scored.
“India's catching also was superb and Kohli's field placements spot on. Shami was back to his best, bowling with speed and hostility, and with both Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowling tight line and lengths, there was no escape for the Proteas batsmen. Hardik Pandya is getting better every game and, most importantly, is recognizing situations and playing accordingly,” Gavaskar added.