Advertisement
Saturday, Jun 25, 2022
Outlook.com
Outlook.com
Opinion

Proteas Beware!

India is now bad news to South Africa because the disruptions are nearly overcome. They have had some tough cricket coming off a break and will be ready to play closer to their potential. It will be another cracker of a series which will feel easier

Proteas Beware!
| AP
Proteas Beware!
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

India is now bad news to South Africa because the disruptions are nearly overcome. They have had some tough cricket coming off a break and will be ready to play closer to their potential. It will be another cracker of a series which will feel easier for India because of the great pressure the Aussies were able to apply.

I have not seen a real rapport between an Indian opening pair very often. Virender Sehwag and Aakash Chopra started something in Australia but it was all about survival. There needs to be a close bond formed at the top between two men who would do anything for each other. A real joy for each other's success and something that is palpable by the opposition. At present they lose too many early wickets and don't recover easily.

Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly and Laxman can be batting masters but it does not seem to rub off onto others. It must intimidate because the development of great talent seems to take a long time. Yuvraj, Kaif and Chopra would be three examples, though all three are good players. The seniors must assert themselves to nurture as well as get their own game right because in this series they were a big part of the loss.

The quick bowlers are genuine and should travel the world very effectively. To do this they must continue to get strong in relevant parts of their bodies and stay on the field.

There is a very good group of four or five ready to go and once they offer more than just support-play to the spinners at home, it will come of age and possibly inspire many youngsters. Zaheer Khan matched the Australian skill in the fourth Test and will learn plenty from that great effort and now needs some help. Overseas they should be as good as any attack in the world but have not shown it yet.

Plenty was asked of the Indian spinners and they delivered in patches. This did not surprise me as they were well short of match-play in the lead up to this crunch series. This is where most of the troubles could come for South Africa. India coming off a stunning two-day win, after such a tough series anything from here will seem light to Harbhajan and Kumble.

Huge wicket-taking performance by Kumble had the Aussies crumbling but allowed his career record to be analysed at length. What a great player he has been with demeanour to go with it. He is one of the world's most admired cricketers and at times slips under the radar of the superstars.

Good team spirit is certainly there in the camp but the injury disruptions just detracted from the impenetrable team unity that was in Australia. It especially needs to return under pressure.

What a culture this Australian team now offers new players. They have won the big series that they were after despite having to replace their captain and Darren Lehmann, arguably their best player of spin.

Young players like Clarke, Katich and Hauritz entered the cauldron and performed.

Hayden and Langer's opening success hit a plateau this series even though it was not a disaster. They will surely love the green of the Gabba and New Zealand may feel their return in their two-Test series starting next Thursday.

The middle order performed brilliantly, whereby someone always got it done. Katich, Clarke and Martyn were superb and when they were not, it was Lehmann and Gilchrist who drove it home. This depth and continuous good form is an area of invincibility that the Australians have had for a long time. They are so difficult to keep down after a couple of early wickets. Gilchrist's gloves were fantastic in all but one match and his fourth Test recovery in this department showed experience and class not to mention the top job he did as captain.

Australia's quicks were right up there with the best attack ever. They never let up, they seemed to own their plans and committed to them. This year the plans were right having got them wrong in Australia last summer. It was the most impressive part of the team's play when no one expected such impact and India's daunting batting lineup was nowhere.

Warne was battling against his deeds of the past in India and high expectations but did well. This was the best he had performed against India but was still fortunate to have such great support. He was at times overused but that is certainly no crime and I thought the part-timers were well underused as was shown by Clarke's stunner in Mumbai.

How much further can this Australian side go? They have conquered their final frontier and it will be merely repetition from here on. They have a spirit which is second to none, which verges on love for each other. They are tough, uncompromising with tremendous pride in personal performance.

Rarely, possibly never ever, have we seen four of their senior batsmen out of touch together. With all that said, they are not unbeatable but you have to be spot on for long periods if you are to get them down and keep them away.

I look forward to these next two series to see how both teams return to Tests. India need to play more Tests in the future and will develop into a good successor to Australia. I also wish the India-Australia clash could become and icon series every two years. Six years is too long to wait for so much speculation, controversy and skill which was 2004.

PTI

Advertisement

Outlook Newsletters

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Read More from Outlook

Lament Of Separation: Songs Of Habba Khatun, Last Queen Of Kashmir, Still Echo In Valley

Lament Of Separation: Songs Of Habba Khatun, Last Queen Of Kashmir, Still Echo In Valley

In happy times and sad, Habba Khatun’s sensuous songs make both young and old emotional. With the never-ending conflict bringing tragedies to every doorstep, Habba’s lyrics of separation amplify their mourning.

How Indian Laws Govern People’s Right To Love And Live

How Indian Laws Govern People’s Right To Love And Live

In India, only those relationships between a man and a woman are considered to be legitimate when there is a marriage between the two.

Kohli Quits Test Captaincy, Leaves Leadership Vacuum

Kohli Quits Test Captaincy, Leaves Leadership Vacuum

Virat Kohli, 33, had recently stepped down as India's T20I captain and was subsequently removed as the ODI captain.

UP Elections 2022: How Congress Is Harnessing Power Of 'Persecuted' Women To Counter BJP

UP Elections 2022: How Congress Is Harnessing Power Of 'Persecuted' Women To Counter BJP

A Mahila Congress leader, who is the face of the ‘Ladki Hoon, Lad Sakti Hoon’ campaign, however, has accused the party of anti-women bias after she was denied a ticket.

Advertisement