Kepler Wessels opens up on Rohit Sharma’s batting struggles in South Africa

South Africa v India, 5th ODI;17th ODI century was a long time coming, says Rohit Sharma
Image Courtesy - Free Press Journal

Keeping a close eye on proceedings in the ongoing ODI series between South Africa and India, former South Africa cricket stalwart Kepler Wessels has laid bare his views on several mini viewpoints that have emerged during the first four matches of the bilateral series, especially the batting struggles of Rohit Sharma, and the spinning woes of the Proteas.

During his cricket career, South Africa cricketer Kepler Wessels came face to face with some of the most fearsome fast bowlers that the world has known and seen, including the mighty West Indians and Australians but the former South African captain was known for his gritty and tough approach to batting, which made it particularly difficult to dislodge him at the crease.

In a rare turn of events, Kepler Wessels captained South Africa after he had already played 24 Test matches for Australia. He was also the first ever man to have played One Day International (ODI) cricket for two countries. Post-cricket, Wessels ventured in cricket coaching and is now an acclaimed TV commentator and cricket pundit.

On Rohit Sharma’s struggles in South Africa

Rohit Sharma has had a particularly tough time in the Rainbow nation as after a poor Test series, he has surprisingly been unable to pick up his form in his beloved ODI format. Reflecting on the same, Kepler Wessels said that Rohit Sharma is bound to struggle in South African conditions because of his footwork. As reported by Cricbuzz, Wessels said

“He plants his front foot across to the off-side and in SA, the pitches always seam and bounce a bit. This is the reason that he averages around 10 there. He’ll always struggle there because of his technique. It doesn’t affect him in India and even in Australia, because the ball doesn’t seam there, it just bounces, but when you have seam and bounce, with that technique, he’s got a problem,” Wessels explained.

On South Africa’s wrist spin troubles

The architects of India’s win in the first three matches of the series were spin twins Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav. The Proteas managed to take the duo for runs in the Pink ODI and posted their first win of the series. Kepler Wessels admitted that even he was surprised to see the degree of the home teams’ struggles against the two Indian wrist spinners.

The former South African skipper also attributed South Africa’s inability to deal with Chahal and Kuldeep to the inexperience in their batting-order. Injuries to captain Faf du Plessis and talisman AB de Villiers haven’t helped their cause either.

“They are particularly struggling to play the wrist spin and the chinaman. They are facing difficulty picking the ball which turns away from the right angle, that’s the one they are really struggling with,” Kepler Wessels said.

On Shikhar Dhawan’s success in India’s ODI squad

Kepler Wessels applauded the Indian southpaw’s form in the ODI series and said that he has always been impressive in white-ball cricket.

“He’s superb there. In the Tests, he’s still vulnerable to the short ball, but the overall package is very good.”

On India’s ODI turnaround after Test series loss against South Africa

Kepler Wessels explained that India play on an altogether different level in the ODI format and the conditions don’t affect them much. Captain Virat Kohli has already scored two centuries in the series and the Indian spinners have almost been unplayable for the Proteas batsmen.

“I think that India’s one-day team at the moment is very good. Their Test team is good too. I mean they are ranked No. 1 in the Tests, but I think that this ODI team, with the combination and variety that they have is excellent,” Kepler Wessels concluded.

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