Rahul Dravid
Rahul Dravid - K. MURALI KUMAR

Rahul Dravid wants to add depth to the team by giving more chances to the likes of Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur who have impressed him with their all-around displays in recent times. In the third and final ODI against South Africa on Sunday, Deepak Chahar starred for India with two wickets and a quickfire half-century but couldn’t prevent a clean sweep.

Deepak Chahar took two wickets including that of in-form Janneman Malan and Aiden Markram to help keep South Africa under the 300-run mark. And then with his team struggling in the chase of 288 after being reduced to 223/7, Deepak Chahar struck five fours and two sixes in his 34-ball 54 to nearly pull off the win.

Deepak Chahar played a fighting knock of 54 during India's loss to South Africa in the 3rd ODI.© AFP
Deepak Chahar played a fighting knock of 54 during India’s loss to South Africa in the 3rd ODI.© AFP

Rahul Dravid: Deepak Chahar Gives India Lot More Options Alongside Shardul Thakur As All-Around Options

Deepak Chahar almost pulled a rabbit out of the hat as India scored 55 runs between overs 43 and 47 with a brilliant counterattack of 54 off 34 balls from the pacer. He fell in the 48th over, but he had put India in a position to pull off the chase. However, with six runs needed in six balls, Yuzvendra Chahal went for the pull, only to be caught by David Miller as South Africa went home with a four-run win and a whitewash

“I mean Deepak Chahar has shown in the opportunities he has gotten with us in Sri Lanka and over here well, he has got some really good ability with the bat. We know what he can do with the ball as well. I have seen him at India A as well and I know he can bat really well so certainly gives us a lot more options,” Rahul Dravid said during a post-match interaction with the media.

Shardul Thakur | Twitter
Shardul Thakur | Twitter

“It is nice to have people like him and Shardul Thakur as well, who we have seen in the last couple of games, contribute with the bat as well. So, obviously, the more and more players like this who can contribute lower down certainly make a big difference and give us more options. So, certainly, we would like to give Deepak more games along with Shardul and a lot of other people who can step up in the course of next year or so and give us depth in the side,” Rahul Dravid added.

India made four changes to their playing XI. Shardul Thakur, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Venkatesh Iyer were benched for the 3rd ODI. Jayant Yadav, Prasidh Krishna, Deepak Chahar, and Suryakumar Yadav had replaced them in the playing XI.

Like most of the other Indian bowlers, Shardul Thakur, who had a niggle, did not give an impressive performance with the ball in the last two games, picking 1 wicket in the two games. He slammed an unbeaten 50 in the 1st ODI and unbeaten 40 runs in the 2nd ODI. In both the games, Shardul Thakur was a bit expensive with the ball. He conceded 72 runs in his 10 overs in the 1st ODI and 35 runs in his 5 overs in the 2nd ODI.

Rahul Dravid: ODI Series Against Proteas An Eye-Opener For India

India lost both the Test and ODI series. India played with nearly a full-strength side across formats and barring the Centurion Test, the tourists proved second-best to South Africa who produced highly impressive performances despite undergoing transition. For Rahul Dravid, the 0-3 defeat in the ODI series has been an eye-opener with the 2023 ODI World Cup just around the corner now.

“I think this ODI series has been a good eye-opener for us. We have not played a lot of ODIs, this has been my first stint with the ODI side. Even the team itself has not played many ODIs after the 2019 World Cup. Luckily, we have got time to go before the 2023 World Cup. It is going to be a lot of cricket in white-ball format till 2023,” Rahul Dravid explained.

Rahul Dravid Photo Credit: PTI
Rahul Dravid Photo Credit: PTI

“It is going to be a good opportunity for us to really reflect and learn and keep getting better. We will get better, there is no doubt that. We certainly good do better with the batting in middle overs, we understand the template and we know a large part of that template is also dependent on the balance of your squad,” Rahul Dravid added.

Their clean sweep over India in the ODIs was completed on the back of a chanceless century from Quinton de Kock and a chancy but classy half-century from Rassie van der Dussen, which carried the hosts to 287 despite a late collapse of 7 for 73. Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli then set up India’s chase with the fifties, but neither could convert it into a big one.

South Africa 287 (de Kock 124, van der Dussen 52, Prasidh 3-59) beat India 283 (Kohli 65, Dhawan 61, Chahar 54, Phehlukwayo 3-40, Ngidi 3-58) by four runs