This time next week, the ODI series between India and South Africa would be already under way. During the interim, what transpired in the ODI series between Pakistan and South Africa is indeed interesting for the Indian team travelling to South Africa. Under normal conditions you would not consider it very unusual for a 7th ranked team to beat 6th ranked team in any form of game. What happened here though is that Pakistan went on to beat South Africa, in their own backyard in back to back games.
The thought in every India cricket fan’s mind will be, can we do the same, being the number one ranked team against a lowly ranked South African team. This is where the rankings would probably not yield the same results as above. The reasons is what I want to explore and see if there are any possibilities.
Pakistan’s supply of young fast bowling talent always seems to be unending and the waiting list always seems to be as long as the waiting list for a spot in the Indian batting middle order. The two rookies Bilawal and Anwar seemed to have started off their International career on the right note. Their most experienced fast bowler is less than 20 games old. But still they seem to have enough fire power to contain the South Africans at home. Of course the trio has good support from the spin twins Ajmal and Afridi and some support from Hafeez. In spite of all the musical chairs that happen in Pakistan to find the winner for the wicket keeper position, which always is a player who has Akmal as last name, they still managed to win the series.
Coming to the depleting supply of fast bowlers that India have at their disposal, the probability of repeating what Pakistan does seem to be far-fetched. The Indian contingent is heavily reliant on Bhuvi to give the initial break through with the new ball and hoping that the spinners can contain a bit in the middle. Coming to the death bowling, the captain himself was contended that, the death bowling against West Indies was better compared to the Australian series. Not that Indian bowlers were bowling toe crushing yorkers at the West Indians, but it is just that they were bowling low full tosses. This comment from the captain needs to be read as a warning sign rather than as a positive sign of improvement. The South African bowling line up of Steyn, Morkel, Philander, McLaren, Parnell would be bowling in their back yards against a pack of the next-gen Indian batsmen out to prove themselves. This is their best chance to give back what they all receive from these Indian batsmen in the IPL J
Comparing the batting strengths of India and South Africa may not be a smart idea at this stage. While the new look Indian batting line up may not have set the stage on fire all over the world, they have a huge potential to do that, and the expectations are there too. For the likes of Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Kohli, Rayudu/Rahane, the next twelve months would be crucial in their career as they step out of their comfort zone of sub continental pitches. South Africa apart from having the home advantage has at their disposal the likes of Smith, Amla, Kallis, De Villiers, Miller, Duminy facing a bowling line up which is trying to find a combination that is fit and reliable enough to last till the world cup.
In spite of this being a short series of only 3 ODI games, it is still very important in the context that this Indian team would be trying to find the magical combination that can defend their title Down Under, under not so batting friendly conditions. How they adapt to the change is what makes this ODI series interesting.
Here are a few links that will get fans of both teams into the ODI mode.
1. India’s greatest ODI [arguably] moment in South Africa [go to the 2 minute mark for the shot that all Indian Cricket fans want to see 🙂
Sportz Cosmos Prediction: India to end one of their most successful ODI year with a 2-1 win over the Proteas