Well, after Team India’s win over Pakistan, the millions of Indian fans do hope to see Team India winning against Proteas too, but former South African batsman Jonty Rhodes strongly feels that South Africa are a far better all-round side.
Jonty Rhodes has stated that despite a strong performance by India in their comprehensive win over arch-rivals Pakistan, South Africa’s strong batting, lethal bowling attack and all-round fielding capabilities would give the Proteas the edge.
He said, “Much as I see India putting up an improved performance over the past few months in Australia, fresh from their rejuvenating win against Pakistan, I foresee a South African win with their strong batting, lethal bowling and an all-round fielding side led by mercurial AB de Villiers.”
Relying on a very effective bowling attack of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell and Vernon Philander, Jonty – who was once treated as the best fielder due to his agility on the field with many exceptionally good examples of stunning fielding – has opined that that India will have to really outperform against such a potent bowling on coming Sunday.
He emphasized, “South African pace attack is similar to that of Australia, and more potent than Pakistan. Having seen the pace, bounce and swing during Australia’s defeat of England a few days ago, I believe that SA pacers will be able to put the Indian batting line-up under pressure, and utilise the new ball with a couple of early wickets. India’s task is really cut out”.
India really do not have much to boast as they had a mediocre Australian summer in their 0-2 Test defeat against the hosts and their inability to win a single ODI in the subsequent tri-series. Based on this ground reality, Jonty believes that Proteas will definitely try to exploit the patchy Indian batting.
He said, “So far this summer Down Under, the highly talented Indian batting line-up has yet to fire as a unit, with the odd piece of brilliance from individuals. The manner of dismissals against Australia this summer showed them to be uncomfortable against hostile fast bowling, with many wickets given away with bad shot selection. This is an area that the SA pacers will try and exploit”.
Commenting on the possibilities he said, “If the Indian openers can get their team off to a consolidated start, by not allowing Dale Steyn to pick up early wickets, then the rest of the batting will benefit from what is usually a true batting surface. So treat Dale’s spell with the view that if he does not pick up a wicket, then you were successful, regardless of how many runs were scored from his overs. When Steyn does not pick up wickets, then the rest of the SA attack can be vulnerable”.
Finally tendering a piece of advice, he concluded, “Rohit Sharma tried to pull a good-length delivery against Pakistan, and was out to a mistimed shot. Rohit and the other Indian batsmen will have to ensure that they play more with straight bat shots against pace of Steyn, especially on a good length outside off stump, as in the subcontinent, with the low bounce, this is an area where the Indian players pick up a great deal of their runs”.
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