Team India head coach, Ravi Shastri, today (23 January) said that the men in blue would have performed better against South Africa in the Tests, had they been given at least ten days of practice in the Protea territory before entering the Test series. According to Shastri, India needed decent amount of time to adapt and adjust to the conditions in South Africa in order to affect desired changes.
Ravi Shastri told the media ahead of the third and last India-South Africa Test, which will take place at the Wanderers stadium in Johannesburg, that with the on-point Indian bowling, only the batting order needed to step-up. As reported by NDTV Sports, Shastri said,
“In hindsight I would say another 10 days of practice here would have made a difference. But that’s no excuse. The pitch we play on, it’s the same for both sides, and I would rather focus on the 20 wickets we have taken. That has given us a chance in both Test matches to win games. If our top order can fire, it will be a good Test match.”
India have slipped into a rather tricky situation following losses in the first two Tests. Now the men in blue will try their best to avoid a series whitewash against South Africa, when they play the final Test at Wanderers, starting on Wednesday 24 January).
India’s record at the Wanderers stadium
India have high expectations to stand up to at the Wanderers stadium in Johannesburg. The Indian cricket team have an established record at the venue which goes back to 1992-1993. The men in blue have never been defeated at the Wanderers stadium, as they have registered three draws and a win. Apart from preventing a series whitewash, Indian team will have added pressure to not let the record slip away.
The Wanderers stadium is considered to be a playground for pace bowlers. And the pacers from both the team will be waiting anxiously to drive out the bounce and turn, especially after South African captain Faf du Plessis said that he had never expected the Centurion pitch to be as slow as it was during the 2nd Test between the teams last week.
Ravi Shastri says India had plenty of winning chances
And although it might seem that South Africa got the better of India in the first two Tests, Ravi Shastri knows for sure, that India had it’s fair share of moments from where they could have converted the match into a victory, but couldn’t manage to do so. He said,
“We have had chances in both Test matches but we didn’t make the most of it. So when you believe you have a chance to win, then you look forward to a Test match. When you don’t believe you can win, you don’t look forward to a Test match, as simple as that,” he added.
Decision to omit Rahane not wrong, feels Ravi Shastri
Ravi Shastri defended the team management’s decision to not include Ajinkya Rahane for the first two Tests which took place in Cape Town and Centurion respectively. Shastri said that going by current form, Rohit Sharma had emerged as India’s best bet. When asked about the selection move, Shastri was not in a mood to take any criticism. He said,
“If Ajinkya (Rahane) had played the first Test and not done well, you would have asked me the same question about why Rohit hasn’t played. Rohit played, he didn’t do well, so you are asking me why Ajinkya didn’t play.”