Cricketer-turned-commentator Sanjay Manjrekar said that the Indian team management failed in decisions related to the team selection during the South Africa tour.
India started the South Africa tour with the hope to win their first-ever Test series in the Rainbow Nation. In fact, they breached Proteas’ fortress in Centurion (SuperSport Park) with a 113-run win.
But the Proteas led by Dean Elgar bounced back to win the three-match Test series 2-1 and keep their winning streak against India at home intact.
South Africa whitewash India 3-0 in the ODI series
South Africa whitewashed India 3-0 in the ODI series to show that the new set of players are determined to win against any strong side in international cricket.
Senior batters Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane were once again under the spotlight of their critics for not standing up to the occasion and score runs according to their experience.
Both Pujara and Rahane scored the fifties in the second innings of the Johannesburg Test as they put up a 111-run stand to push India’s lead to 239.
Pujara accumulated 124 runs from six innings, while Rahane scored 136 from as many innings. Interestingly, Team South Africa leaked 136 runs as extras.
Indian skipper Virat Kohli did bring amendments to his technique in the third Test but that didn’t help him to score enough runs. Kohli made 161 runs from two games at an average of 40.25.
India paid a heavy price for not just seeing the obvious: Sanjay Manjrekar
Manjrekar criticised the team selection in both Tests and ODIs for India’s disappointing tour of South Africa. The former Indian player pointed out at the performances of India’s middle-order in Tests and the efficacy of Ravichandran Ashwin in overseas pitches.
“In Tests – even in England – Rohit Sharma covered up India’s issues. India have had a problem with their Test batting for a while. If you look at the top 5, thankfully Rohit and KL Rahul came good in England and they’ve been doing pretty well. But if you look at number 3 Pujara, Virat and Ajinkya Rahane have been out of form,” Manjrekar told CNN-News18.
“When you have 3, 4, 5 down on confidence and out of form, that is bound to hurt you at some point in time. The bowling has been alright.”
“That is where team selection comes into play. Where you have a crisis around the corner, where you don’t make any changes. Now if you make changes, it doesn’t make sense because now the block remains. So good captains, leaders, and management see things coming and that is what India paid the price for. In South Africa, there was much warning on Pujara and Rahane’s current form and Ravichandran Ashwin as a spinner overseas. All those factors were ignored.
“Even in the one-day series, they went with seniors; that is just beyond me. I don’t think that suddenly India cricket is in poor hands. There is talent. I just feel India paid a heavy price for not just seeing the obvious,” Manjrekar added.
India will play next against West Indies in three ODI matches and as many T20I series, the bilateral series begins on February 6 in Ahmedabad.