The tour of South Africa was not turning out on the expected lines. The hopes were sky high from the current side. The Kohli-led side had gone to South Africa on the back of nine consecutive series wins and were widely tipped to end India’s long wait for the maiden Test series win in the rainbow nation. However, the team could not live up to expectations and failed to put up a good fight in the first two Tests.
After losing the series-opener in Cape Town, India were thoroughly outplayed in Centurion too, losing the game by 135 runs to concede the series. Chasing 287, the Indian batsmen fell like a pack of cards and were eventually all out for just 151.
However, just when it looked the formidable hosts would steamroll India in the third Test too, Virat Kohli & Co. came up with a stunning performance to win the third Test in Johannesburg and finish the series on a high,
The win would have instilled the much-needed confidence into the Indian camp and former India opener Virender Sehwag believes Kohli & Co. will be high on confidence going into the upcoming ODI series after the Johannesburg victory.
“The win in the last Test match at Johannesburg has definitely lifted the morale of the team,” Sehwag told India TV.
“After losing the first two Tests, people were thinking that India might lose it 3-0 but Virat Kohli and his team made a brilliant comeback. The bowlers made a big contribution to the win. There are only a handful of instances where the bowlers have successfully defended a small total. You need to give credit to Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami,” Sehwag added.
India will be bolstered by the arrival of their most experienced player MS Dhoni and other players. Sehwag said Dhoni not only helps Kohli in his captaincy but also points out his flaws.
“In ODI cricket, Kohli also have MS Dhoni, who is always there to point out his flaws unlike in Test cricket. You will see Dhoni giving suggestions to Kohli, you will see him set the field… this is definitely a benefit,” Sehwag commented.
Earlier, the 39-year-old had opined that Kohli needs some players who can point out flaws in his on-field decisions.
“I think, Virat Kohli needs some players who can point out his mistakes on the field. Every team has four-five players, who advise the skipper and help him avoid mistakes on-field. I don’t see that in the current Indian squad, “ he had said.
Sehwag further said AB de Villiers’ absence will help India’s cause. The South Africa batting star has been ruled out of the first three games of the six-match series with a finger injury.
“This is great news from the Indian perspective that AB de Villiers will not play the first three ODIs because he is one such player who can change the course of the game anytime. India have a good chance to capitalize on this and win at least two of the first three matches,” Sehwag said.
The batting legend went on to say that winning the first match of the series is important to get the momentum for the rest of the series.
“It is very important to win the first match because it gives you the right momentum for the rest of the series. If you lose the first match, you are under pressure. If India play like they did in Johannesburg, they might create history,” said Sehwag.
The ODI series gets underway on Thursday (February 1) as India will be eyeing history. India have never won a bilateral ODI series in South Africa in four attempts.