Aakash Chopra feels Team India’s recent Test series loss to hosts South Africa will hurt badly, as the visitors were a much superior side to the hosts.
India started the series against the Proteas on a positive note, registering a convincing win in the Boxing Day Test. However, they were handed comprehensive defeats in Johannesburg and Cape Town, failing to defend over 200-run targets. That put paid to their hopes of registering a maiden Test series win in South Africa.
Aakash Chopra Praised Young South African Side For Upsetting Experienced Favourites Indian Team
Reflecting on the series loss, in a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra pointed out that the Virat Kohli-led side would be a disappointed lot.
“If you do a man-to-man marking with the opposing team, India was a much superior team. You won all the tosses; you allow more than 200 runs to be chased in the fourth innings, that too easily. It means this loss is going to pinch.”
While acknowledging that the 2018 series loss had also hurt, the cricketer-turned-commentator highlighted that the two sides were almost at par on that occasion.
Aakash Chopra elaborated: “We won the first Test, conquered the Centurion fort, but after that loss at the Wanderers, (we) have now lost in Cape Town. The 2018 loss had hurt, but that was a contest between two evenly matched sides. Batting had let us down there also.”
The loss against South Africa is certainly a huge blow to Team India. They were the overwhelming favourites coming into the series after their exploits in Australia and England but were found wanting on South African shores. Aakash Chopra added that it is rare that Team India goes into an overseas series in unfamiliar conditions as the favourites.
He observed in this regard while praising South Africa: “South Africa will have to be praised because it is a young side. It is a team against whom when you started playing, you felt that you start as favourites. When has it happened last time that you have gone to South Africa, England or Australia, where you said that you are the favourites to win, it happens very rarely.”
South Africa has won the decisive third Test and claimed the three-match series 2-1 against India at the Newlands in Cape Town. Keegan Petersen top-scored for South Africa with his 82-run knock and he was brilliant with his technique against the Indian bowling attack. Rassie van der Dussen also played good innings with Keegan Petersen first and then Temba Bavuma to guide South Africa to victory.
Aakash Chopra Praised Proteas For Winning Without Injured Anrich Nortje And Quinton De Kock Who Announced Test Retirement After 1st Test
The 44-year-old spoke highly of the Proteas pulling off a win despite the absence of many experienced players. At just 29 years of age and having played 54 Tests, Quinton de Kock announced his retirement from the traditional format at the end of the opening Test against India, which the Proteas lost by 113 runs at SuperSport Park and didn’t feature in the last 2 Tests.
The 28-year-old Anrich Nortje had been in good form in Tests this year, picking up 25 wickets in five matches at an average of 20.76 and a respectable economy rate of 3.30. He missed Proteas three-match Test series against India after failing to recover from “a persistent injury”.
Aakash Chopra explained: “But that was the case here because Anrich Nortje was not there; Quinton de Kock announces his retirement; it is a very young side where Keegan Petersen has played just two Tests before this, Rassie van der Dussen had not scored too many runs; Markram was already in and out. Your team looked much superior in batting, but it did not happen like that.”
Aakash Chopra was particularly effusive in his praise for Keegan Petersen and Marco Jansen.
South Africa 210 (Petersen 72, Bumrah 5-42) and 212 for 3 (Petersen 82, van der Dussen 41*, Bavuma 32*) beat India 223 (Kohli 79, Pujara 43, Rabada 4-73, Jansen 3-55) and 198 (Pant 100*, Kohli 29, Jansen 4-36, Ngidi 3-21, Rabada 3-53) by seven wickets