Keshav Maharaj

Rahul Dravid Photo Credit: PTI
Rahul Dravid Photo Credit: PTI
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Rahul Dravid Clarifies Rishabh Pant Is An Integral Part Of Indian Team Heading Into 2022 T20I World Cup

Rahul Dravid, India’s head coach on Sunday made it clear that the under-fire Rishabh Pant is a “big” and “integral” part of the set-up heading into the T20 World Cup in Australia.

Rishabh Pant, who led the side in the five-match series against South Africa that ended in a 2-2 draw after the last game was called off due to rain, managed only 58 runs in the five innings which led to some questions being raised about his place in the shortest format.

Rahul Dravid India cricket team head coach with player Rishabh Pant(PTI)
Rahul Dravid India cricket team head coach with player Rishabh Pant(PTI)

Rahul Dravid Won’t Judge Rishabh Pant Based On A Series

However, Rahul Dravid was very clear that Rishabh Pant is going nowhere. Under-fire Rishabh Pant’s chances in the India squad for the 2022 T20I World Cup have become the most-talked-about topic in the cricket fraternity.

A poor return with the bat in the recently-concluded home series against South Africa saw many ruling out the youngster for the big event in Australia later this year. Amidst this debate, India head coach Rahul Dravid made a huge statement on Rishabh Pant’s chances in the World Cup squad.

“Personally, he would have liked to score a few more runs but it is not concerning him. Certainly, he is a very big part of our plans going ahead in the next few months,” Rahul Dravid said during the post-match press conference.

Rishabh Pant will lead India against South Africa (BCCI Image)
Rishabh Pant will lead India against South Africa (BCCI Image)

He was categorical that he won’t judge someone based on one series — whether it is batting form or captaincy.

“I just don’t want to be critical. In the middle overs, you need people to play a slightly attacking brand of cricket, to take the game on a little more. Sometimes it’s very hard to judge it based on two or three games,” the head coach said.

Rishabh Pant, 24, was named captain of the Indian team for the T20I series against South Africa after regular skipper KL Rahul was injured a day prior to the series. The series ended 2-2 after the deciding match in Bengaluru was abandoned due to rain on Sunday after only 3.3 overs were made possible.

Rahul Dravid Reckons Rishabh Pant Had A Pretty Good IPL 2022

In fact, coach Rahul Dravid was impressed with Rishabh Pant’s strike rate of 158 plus during the IPL 2022 where he managed an underwhelming 340 runs for the Delhi Capitals.

“I think he had a pretty good IPL in terms of strike rate even though it might not have looked good on averages. In IPL, he looked to move up a little bit (in terms of averages), and probably three years ago he was on those numbers. We are hoping that we can get those numbers from him at the international level.”

Rishabh Pant plays a high-risk game that comes with a price and the coach is ready to pay the price by looking at the bigger picture.

“In the process (of playing an attacking game), he might go wrong in a few games but he remains an integral part of our batting line-up with the power he has and the fact that he is a left-hander is important to us in the middle overs, he played some good knocks,” he said.

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant (Credits: Twitter)

About his captaincy, Rahul Dravid felt that Rishabh Pant did well considering that he led the side back in the series from 0-2 down.

“To bring a team back from 0-2 down and to level it at 2-2 and give us a chance to win was good. Captaincy is not about wins and losses only. He (Pant) is a young captain, growing as leader. It is too early to judge him and you don’t want to do that after one series,” Dravid was clear in his thought-process.

“It was nice to see he has got opportunities to lead, keep and bat. He had a lot of load on him but gaining from that experience and credit to him for ensuring that we went from 0-2 down to 2-2,” the coach was all praise for the stand-in skipper.

While the hosts India managed to square the series after losing the first two matches, Rishabh Pant had the highest score of 29. He was dismissed while trying to attack balls wide outside the off-stump and was particularly troubled by left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj.

Rishabh Pant has managed just 58 runs in the series against South Africa at a mediocre average of 14.5 and an equally poor strike rate of 105.45. Rishabh Pant has struggled with the bat in the T20I series against South Africa, having registered scores of 29, 5, 6, 17, and 1*.

Rishabh Pant led India against South Africa (BCCI Image)
Rishabh Pant led India against South Africa (BCCI Image)
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Ashish Nehra Reckons Rishabh Pant Will Be Disappointed With His T20I Numbers

Ashish Nehra, the former Indian pacer reckons that Rishabh Pant will himself be disappointed with his T20I career so far considering his below-par performances. According to the former left-arm seamer, the southpaw has played quite a number of games for India in the format, without producing the desired results.

Rishabh Pant, 24, was named captain of the Indian team for the T20I series against South Africa after regular skipper KL Rahul was injured a day prior to the series. The series ended 2-2 after the deciding match in Bengaluru was abandoned due to rain on Sunday after only 3.3 overs were made possible.

KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant. (Photo Source: Twitter)
KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Ashish Nehra: Rishabh Pant Will Be Disappointed With His T20I Numbers

While the hosts India managed to square the series after losing the first two matches, Rishabh Pant had the highest score of 29. He was dismissed while trying to attack balls wide outside the off-stump and was particularly troubled by left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj.

Analyzing the stand-in captain’s batting woes against the Proteas, Ashish Nehra said:  “It is not like Rishabh Pant targets only left-arm spinners. If he feels he can take on off-spinners like Moeen Ali or Liam Livingstone, he will do that as well. It is just the way he plays, be it T20s or Tests. But yes, he himself will be disappointed with his T20I numbers. It is not like we are talking about 10 to 15 innings. He has also batted at No.3, 4 and 5.”

Ashish Nehra (Image Credit: Twitter)
Ashish Nehra (Image Credit: Twitter)

The Team India keeper-batter has scored 741 runs in 48 T20I matches at an average of 23.15 and a strike rate of 123.91. Rishabh Pant has managed just 58 runs in the series against South Africa at a mediocre average of 14.5 and an equally poor strike rate of 105.45. Rishabh Pant has struggled with the bat in the T20I series against South Africa, having registered scores of 29, 5, 6, 17, and 1*.

Parthiv Patel Doesn’t Think It’s A Question Of Ego And Reckons Rishabh Pant Isn’t Selecting Right Balls Against Left Arm Spinners

Responding to a query asking whether ego was getting the better of Rishabh Pant against left-arm spinners, Parthiv Patel stated that he did not feel that was the case.

The former India keeper-batter explained: “I don’t think it’s a question of ego. When a left-hander faces a left-arm spinner, he always feels he can hit him. It is a match-up, just like you bring an off-spinner against a left-hander to get him out. But selecting the right ball is very important.”

Parthiv Patel
Parthiv Patel (Credits: Twitter)

On what the left-handed batter can do to counter the ploy of bowlers bowling wide outside off stump, Parthiv Patel responded: “As a batter plays more cricket, the opposition plans against him – where they can get him out. During the IPL as well, teams targeted him outside the off stump. He could make a tactical adjustment by, maybe, taking an off stump guard to get closer to the ball.”

Before the series against South Africa, Rishabh Pant struggled in the IPL as well. Leading the Delhi Capitals (DC), he scored 340 runs in 14 matches with a best of 44.

The 24-year-old keeper has featured in 30 Tests so far in which he has scored 1920 runs at an average of 40.85 with four hundred. In 24 ODIs, he has 715 runs at an average of 32.50. However, his T20I numbers are rather underwhelming.

Wasim Jaffer (Credits: Twitter)
Wasim Jaffer (Credits: Twitter)
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Wasim Jaffer Feels India Will Have The Upper Hand Over Proteas In The Series Deciding 5th T20I

Wasim Jaffer, the former Indian opener and full-time cricket pundit feels Team India will have the upper hand over South Africa in the 5th T20I on Sunday. Former Indian opener Wasim Jaffer believes the hosts will have an edge over the Proteas in the series decider after winning back-to-back two matches against the Temba Bavuma-led side.

Starting the series with impressive wins, Temba Bavuma-led South Africa defeated India by 7 wickets (1st T20I) and four wickets (2nd T20I) in the first two games of the bilateral series. Staging a stunning comeback, Rishabh Pant-led India upstaged the Proteas by 48 runs (3rd T20I) and 82 runs (4th T20I) to level the series 2-2.
Rishabh Pant (India) vs Temba Bavuma (South Africa)
Rishabh Pant (India) vs Temba Bavuma (South Africa) Photo Credit: (BCCI)

Wasim Jaffer Reckons India Will Have The Upper Hand In Bengaluru And South Africa Must Be Mentally Hurt

Speaking ahead of the series decider, former Indian opener Wasim Jaffer opined that the hosts will have the upper hand in the 5th T20I against the Proteas.
“India will have the upper hand in Bangalore because both their wins have been on big margins. South Africa must be mentally hurt that they lost so easily after winning the first two matches.
“There are some injury concerns as well with Bavuma and perhaps Marco Jansen being injured, Aiden Markram has also gone so I feel India has the upper hand for this match,” Wasim Jaffer said.
For South Africa, the talented batsman Aiden Markram missed out on the first 3 T20I games of the series against India after he had tested positive for Covid-19. But it was expected that he would be available for the final two T20I games, but the latest statement from CSA confirmed that Aiden Markram is ruled out of the T20I series.
Aiden Markram
Aiden Markram (Photo by CHRISTIAAN KOTZE/AFP via Getty Images)
South Africa made as many as three changes to their playing 11 in the 4th T20I. The duo of pacers Marco Jansen and Lungi Ngidi have come in for the injured pacers Kagiso Rabada and Wayne Parnell while Quinton de Kock returned after recovering from a wrist injury.
There also remains a shadow of doubt over the fitness of Proteas skipper Temba Bavuma, who retired hurt in the fourth T20I after an elbow injury. If Kagiso Rabada comes back for the final game, SA should sit Tabraiz Shamsi on the bench.
After all, Tabraiz Shamsi has just one wicket in 4 matches and is conceding over 10 runs per over. If skipper Temba Bavuma doesn’t make it to playing 11, Keshav Maharaj will be given a chance to lead the team.

Wasim Jaffer Thinks India Will Go Unchanged In The 5th Deciding T20I

Talking about the changes that India can make in its playing XI, Wasim Jaffer asserted that Deepak Hooda has the potential to replace Shreyas Iyer because the all-rounder batted at No. 3 in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022. However, he observed that the hosts will remain unchanged for the series decider against the Proteas on Sunday.
“We were expecting some changes after the first two losses but India didn’t make any change so I don’t think any change will happen when they have won two matches.
“If we have to throw a name in the hat, it could be Deepak Hooda for Shreyas Iyer because he batted at No. 3 in the IPL as well and was successful as well. But the pattern the Indian team is playing in, I think we will see more continuity,” he added.
Wasim Jaffer. Image Credits: Twitter
Wasim Jaffer. Image Credits: Twitter
Rishabh Pant-led India will meet the Proteas in the series decider at the famous M.Chinnaswamy Stadium. Rishabh Pant-led Team India will aim for a stunning come-from-behind series win over South Africa in the 5th T20I on Sunday at Bengaluru on Sunday.
Under the leadership of the stand-in skipper, injury-hit India will be the favourites to secure the series when they meet South Africa in the 5th T20I at the famous M.Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant (Credits: Twitter)
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IND vs SA 2022: Rishabh Pant Should Be Given A Break, Says Danish Kaneria

Rishabh Pant recorded yet another failure with the willow as he departed after scoring only 17 of 23 in the 4th T20I on Friday whereas Dinesh Karthik continued his dream run to remind selectors of his finish prowess as the senior batter led India to a series-leveling 82-run victory over South Africa in the fourth T20I on Friday.

The 37-year-old Dinesh Karthik smashed 55 off only 27 deliveries to guide India to 169 for six, which was defended comfortably by Indian bowlers who rode Avesh Khan’s best T20I figures of 4-18. While it was a near-perfect game for the hosts India, who set up a series decider in Bengaluru, stand-in skipper Rishabh Pant perished early once again.

The 24-year-old stumper tried to hit a Keshav Maharaj delivery that would have been declared wide. Rishabh Pant has registered scores of 29, 5, 6, and 17 in the first 4 T20Is falling in a similar fashion in the ongoing T20 assignment against visitors Proteas. With Dinesh Karthik’s emergence in the T20 format, it remains to be seen whether the selectors persist with Rishabh Pant if he returns lowly scores in the long run.

Rishabh Pant (L) and Dinesh Karthik (R) Photograph:( AFP )
Rishabh Pant (L) and Dinesh Karthik (R) Photograph:( AFP )

Rishabh Pant Should Be Given A Break: Danish Kaneria

Former Pakistan tweaker Danish Kaneria has also slammed the Indian’s mediocre showing, saying the team management needs to explore other options as well.  He proposed the name of Wriddhiman Saha, who enjoyed a stellar run with Gujarat Titans in the recently-concluded IPL 2022 season. Danish Kaneria also wants to see Dinesh Karthik or KS Bharat behind the sticks.

“India have got a nice team combination with better understanding between players. Karthik and Hardik have been performing consistently but Ruturaj and Ishan haven’t been able to do it. Also, Pant needs to improve his batting. India have also got KS Bharat. I also don’t see any problem in bringing in Wriddhiman Saha.”

“Just give a break to Rishabh Pant. Saha was excellent for Gujarat Titans in the IPL. Also, Karthik can keep the wickets. We saw that during his time with Royal Challengers Bangalore,” said Kaneria on his YouTube channel.

Danish Kaneria (Image credit: Twitter)
Danish Kaneria (Image credit: Twitter)

“Pant can be rested to bring in a player who can bat well in the middle order. Rohit, Virat, Suryakumar, and Rahul will return to the team soon… and Pant’s place will under major threat. Pant is an immense talent but he’s wasting it. The selection committee and management need to talk with Pant if they want to move on. That’s a possibility after the ongoing series,” he further added.

Wriddhiman Saha gave the Gujarat Titans a few flying starts during the powerplay overs in IPL 2022. However, he couldn’t deliver the goods in the playoff matches, falling for a duck in Qualifier 1 and managing just five runs in the all-important IPL 2022 final-both against Rajasthan Royals.

Wriddhiman Saha, the Test discard, had scored 317 runs from 11 IPL 2022 games averaging 31.7 at a strike rate of 122.39. His age of 37 is not on his side. He has played only 9 ODIs besides 40 Tests and is yet to play a T20I.

Rishabh Pant Hasn’t Learned From His Previous Three Dismissals As He Keeps On Going To Hit Wide Balls Outside Off-Stump: Sunil Gavaskar

Legendary Sunil Gavaskar was also critical of Rishabh Pant, who yet again chased a wide delivery that was way outside the off-stump. Rishabh Pant has been finding it tough with the bat, managing to score just 57 runs in four games so far.

“He hasn’t learned. He hasn’t learned from his previous three dismissals. They throw wide, and he keeps going for it. He can’t throw enough muscle on that. He has got to stop looking to go aerial that far outside the off-stump,” said Gavaskar during his commentary stint on Star Sports.

Sunil Gavaskar. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Sunil Gavaskar. (Photo Source: Twitter)

“10 times, he has been dismissed wide outside off-stump. Some of them would’ve been called wide if he hadn’t made contact with it. Because he’s so far away, he has to reach out for it. He will never get enough power on it. To keep getting out in the same series in the same manner, for a captain of the Indian team, that’s not a good sign,” he added.

Rishabh Pant has struggled with the bat in the ongoing T20I series against South Africa so far, having registered scores of 29, 5, 6, and 17. Rishabh Pant has scored 740 runs in 47 T20Is at a low average and strike rate of 23.12 and 123.95 respectively with three half-centuries to his name.

Dean Elgar ( Image Source: Twitter)
Dean Elgar ( Image Source: Twitter)
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Dean Elgar’s Decision To Bat First Paid Off But He Feared It Might Have Backfired; Proteas Clinch 2nd Test To Level Series 1-1 Against Kiwis

Dean Elgar, the Proteas skipper conceded after securing the Test win against New Zealand to level the two-match series 1-1 on Tuesday that he would have looked an “absolute idiot” had his decision to bat first on February 25 backfired and the Proteas lost the match.

South Africa bucked the trend at the Hagley Oval and elected to bat first, and thanks to a century from Sarel Erwee in the first innings they managed to post 364 and take a 71-run first-innings lead, which proved crucial in the end.

The Proteas then declared their second innings on 354 and bundled out the hosts for 227 to win by 198 runs and take revenge for their innings and 276-run humiliating defeat in the first Test at the same venue.

Sarel Erwee celebrates his century, Picture: Andrew Cornaga/www.photosport.nz/BackpagePix
Sarel Erwee celebrates his century, Picture: Andrew Cornaga/www.photosport.nz/BackpagePix

Dean Elgar’s Decision to Bat First Paid Off But He Feared It May Have Backfired

On February 25, Dean Elgar’s decision to bat first had surprised New Zealand as in the opening Test, the tourists could only manage 95 runs in the first innings, finally suffering an innings defeat.

“Luckily it paid off for us (the decision to bat first); it was something that might have backfired on us and I would have looked like an absolute idiot. But I’m one of those guys that is willing to live with the decisions I make for the side,” Dean Elgar was quoted as saying following the big win.

Dean Elgar was a pleased captain after South Africa defeated New Zealand by 198 runs in the second Test.

Dean Elgar file photo (Photo by Dianne Manson/Getty Images)
Dean Elgar file photo (Photo by Dianne Manson/Getty Images)

“We’ve shown in the past that we’ve got a lot of characters within our unit and, ultimately, we needed characters to come out again and rise up and make a stand for us to try and level the series,” Dean Elgar said.

The Proteas’ decision to bat first on a seamer-friendly wicket wasn’t the only surprise of the second Test. They also played spinner Keshav Maharaj, who ultimately went on to grab four wickets in the Test, including a 3/75 in the second innings.

Kagiso Rabada:  It Was The Right Decision To Bat First And Play A Spinner

Pacer Kagiso Rabada, who snared 5/60 in the first innings and 3/46 in the second, said there was a marked difference between the wickets for the two Tests, although the matches were played at the same venue Hagley Oval.

On a pitch that had something in it for the quicks throughout the five days, Kagiso Rabada finished with eight wickets in the match, including his 11th career five-for and Marco Jansen with seven, while Keshav Maharaj, the only spinner playing across both XIs, took a decisive 3 for 75 in New Zealand’s second innings.

After taking a first-innings lead of 71, South Africa rode on wicketkeeper Kyle Verreynne’s unbeaten 136 to pile up 354/9 (declared) in their second essay to set a target of 425 for the home team.

“This wicket in this Test match was a lot drier just looking at it with the naked eye, and it had a lot less grass on it. When you walked on it, the spikes almost sunk into it.”

“So, that tells you that it’s going to be a little bit slow and hopefully when the Test match moved forward the conditions would get drier and the footmarks would be created for Keshav (Maharaj) to exploit. That was the thinking and, in the end, it was the right decision (to bat first and play a spinner),” added Kagiso Rabada.

Kagiso Rabada's pace often has him the centre of attention AFP/Getty Images
Kagiso Rabada’s pace often has him the centre of attention AFP/Getty Images

“It was irritating that the rain had to come at that stage (final session, Day 5). I had an idea that the rain would just blow over, the clouds would blow over, but in the back of your head you’ve got that cynical thought that says ‘what if it stays?’.”

South Africa maintained their unbeaten series record over New Zealand, levelled the two-match series 1-1, and became the first team to win a match at the Hagley Oval after choosing to bat first. They set New Zealand a target of 426 and bowled them out for 227 to stage a remarkable comeback after losing the first match by an innings and 276 runs, their second-biggest defeat ever.

South Africa 364 (Erwee 108, Wagner 4-102, Henry 3-90) and 354 for 9 declared (Verreynne 136*, Rabada 47, Henry 2-81) beat New Zealand 293 (de Grandhomme 120*, Rabada 5-60, Jansen 4-98) and 227 (Conway 92, Rabada 3-46, Jansen 3-63) by 198 runs

Rishabh Pant (Photo Source: Disney+Hotstar VIP)
Rishabh Pant (Photo Source: Disney+Hotstar VIP)
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Rishabh Pant Explains Reason To Bat At No. 4 In First 2 ODIs Against Proteas

Rishabh Pant understands the value of his wicket and the reason why the team management often asks him to use his discretion in shot selection during important phases of various matches.

Rishabh Pant was out to an atrocious shot during the second Test in Wanderers, which led to a lot of criticism from all quarters and former skipper Virat Kohli stating that they have had a word with the talented southpaw.

Rishabh Pant. (Photo Source: BCCI)
Rishabh Pant. (Photo Source: BCCI)

Rishabh Pant Explains Reason To Bat At No. 4 To Adhere To Left Right Combination

Although then-captain Virat Kohli and coach Rahul Dravid backed the southpaw over his style of cricket and his match-winning abilities, it was not the first time when questions over Rishabh Pant’s brand of cricket were raised. However, he responded sensationally in Cape Town in the third and final Test, when he scored an attacking 100 off 139 on a challenging track with seam movement and variable bounce.

Mere days after that masterclass in a losing cause, Rishabh Pant constructed another stroke-filled, aggressive 85-run knock at Paarl’s Boland Park in the 2nd ODI, which came in a losing cause.

“There are always positive talks that as an individual what I can do. All the strokes are there but how can I play with patience and according to the situation. So a lot of discussions happen,” Pant, who since then had scored a hundred in the third Test at Cape Town and followed it with career-best 85 in the second ODI, told reporters during a virtual interaction.

“And whatever we discuss, we practice and after that try to implement in the match,” he added.

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

According to Rishabh Pant, who made a career-best 85, the team management has entrusted him with the responsibility of batting at four, to ensure a right-left combination.

“The reason to bat at number four was if a left-hander gets a chance to bat in the middle, then it becomes easy to rotate strike, with the left-right combination, especially in the middle overs when leg-spinners or left-arm spinners bowl.”…..so that is why the team management felt that a left-handed batter should bat and that is why that role was given to me,” he said.

Rishabh Pant also said that the team is learning from the mistakes in its endeavour to get better.

“I think as (from) a batting point of view, we are fine, we are going fine. We are learning from our mistakes and every day as the Indian cricket team we strive to improve our cricket and that is the only thing we are looking forward (to).”

Rishabh Pant believes that the difference between the two teams in the just lost ODI series was far better middle-overs batting by the South African side. Having lost the first ODI game by 31 runs, Indians were once again soundly thrashed by seven wickets after having put up a reasonably good 287 runs on the board. Rishabh Pant’s magnificent 71-ball 85 – his career-best score in ODIs, was the lone silver lining in the 2nd ODI.

Rishabh Pant: Shardul Thakur’s Batting Lower Down The Order Was A Positive

Rishabh Pant believes that Shardul Thakur’s batting in both the first two games (50 no and 40 no) has been one of the biggest positives in the series so far.

“One more positive was the way Shardul (Thakur) batted down the order, in both the matches, that was also a positive. The way Venky (Venkatesh Iyer) bowled, he conceded more runs in one or two overs, but still, it felt that he could bowl (at this level). So, there are a lot of positives, which we can take as a team.”

Shardul Thakur | Twitter
Shardul Thakur | Twitter

Pant admitted that Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, and Tabraiz Shamsi bowled better than Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal in the two games. The Indian spin duo picked only two wickets in two matches as India picked just 7 wickets in the first two ODIs.

“I think they (SA spinners) were more consistent in their lines and lengths and they are used to playing in these conditions,” he said. One of the biggest reasons for the defeat is the lack of 50-over game time for a long duration, opined Rishabh Pant.

“We are playing ODIs after a long time and lots of factors we can talk about but as a team, we are always looking to improve and hopefully, we will be able to rectify them in coming matches.”

Rishabh Pant brushed aside queries about the poor form of pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

“As a team, we are always looking to improve and I don’t think there is much concern about Bhuvi bhai’s form. Obviously, we are playing an ODI after a long time so we are just getting used to the momentum, obviously disappointed after losing the series but at the same time we are looking at ways to learn from our mistakes.” 

Bhuvneshwar Kumar has returns of 0/64 and 0/67 in the first 2 ODIs of the 3 match series and was dropped in the 3rd ODI. Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled 18 overs in two matches and conceded runs with an economy of 7.27 without taking a single wicket. In the last ODI series against Sri Lanka in July last year, he picked 3 wickets in 2 matches with an economy of 6.15.

India made four changes as Suryakumar Yadav, Jayant Yadav, Prasidh Krishna, and Deepak Chahar replaced Venkatesh Iyer, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ravichandran Ashwin, and Shardul Thakur. South Africa is 168/3 and Quinton de Kock has almost scored a ton.

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant-- File Photo: PTI
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Rishabh Pant Admits South African Spinners Were More Consistent In The 2nd ODI

Rishabh Pant believes that the difference between the two teams in the just lost ODI series was far better middle-overs batting by the South African side. Having lost the first ODI game by 31 runs, Indians were once again soundly thrashed by seven wickets after having put up a reasonably good 287 runs on the board.

Rishabh Pant’s magnificent 71-ball 85 – his career-best score in ODIs, was the lone silver lining in a dark cloud for India as they went down by seven wickets to South Africa in the second ODI at the Boland Park in Paarl.

Rishabh Pant (Photo Source: Disney+Hotstar VIP)
Rishabh Pant (Photo Source: Disney+Hotstar VIP)

Rishabh Pant Admits South African Spinners Were More Consistent In Their Lines And Lengths

Rishabh Pant said that the Indian spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal could have done better in the second ODI as South Africa chased down the target of 288 with a loss of only 3 wickets as the hosts took an unassailable lead of 2-0 in the 3-match series.

“The track was slightly on the slower side and at the same time, we had enough runs on the board,” Pant, who scored 85, said after the match.

“Last match (first ODI), we chased and this match we batted first, so when they batted, the wicket was much better for batting. In the second innings, it became slower and slower as the game progressed.”

Tabraiz Shamsi
Tabraiz Shamsi. Image Credits: Twitter

Rishabh Pant admitted that Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, and Tabraiz Shamsi bowled better than Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal in the two games. The Indian spin duo picked only two wickets in two matches as India picked just 7 wickets in two matches.

Remarkably, South Africa’s three spin bowlers — Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, and Tabraiz Shamsi — outperformed the Indian veterans, claiming a combined four wickets for 143 runs in 26 overs.

“I think they (SA spinners) were more consistent in their lines and lengths and they are used to playing in these conditions,” he said.

One of the biggest reasons for the defeat is the lack of 50-over game time for a long duration, opined Rishabh Pant.

“We are playing ODIs after long time and lots of factors we can talk about but as a team, we are always looking to improve and hopefully, we will be able to rectify them in coming matches.”

Quinton de Kock (78) and Janneman Malan (91) rose to the occasion with the bat as South Africa defeated India by seven wickets in the second ODI to gain an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

Wicketkeeper batter Rishabh Pant registered a career-best 85 off 71 balls as India managed to set up a 288-run target against South Africa. But, South African openers Janneman Malan and Quinton de Kock added 132 for the opening wicket as the Proteas eased to victory by seven wickets.

Rishabh Pant Informs India Looking To Improve And There Isn’t Much Concern About Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s Form

Rishabh Pant brushed aside queries about the poor form of veteran pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

“As a team, we are always looking to improve and I don’t think there is much concern about Bhuvi bhai’s form. Obviously, we are playing ODI after a long time so we are just getting used to the momentum, obviously disappointed after losing the series but we are looking at ways to improve,” he added.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Image Credit: Twitter)
Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Image Credit: Twitter)

Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled 18 overs in two matches and conceded runs with an economy of 7.27 without taking a single wicket. In the last ODI series against Sri Lanka in July last year, he picked 3 wickets in 2 matches with an economy of 6.15.

Quinton de Kock has also been the captain of the South Africa Test team. (Reuters)
Quinton de Kock has also been the captain of the South Africa Test team. (Reuters)
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Janneman Malan Praised Fellow Opener Quinton de Kock After Proteas Win 2nd ODI

Janneman Malan heaped praises on his opening partner Quinton de Kock after South Africa’s series-clinching 2nd ODI win against India at Boland Park on Friday. 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.

Quinton de Kock (78) and Janneman Malan (91) rose to the occasion with the bat as South Africa defeated India by seven wickets in the second ODI to gain an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series. For South Africa, Rassie van der Dussen and Aiden Markram remained unbeaten on 37 each.

Janneman Malan
Janneman Malan. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Janneman Malan Reckons Quinton de Kock Made It Easy For Him At The Start

Some outstanding spin bowling from Tabraiz Shamsi, Keshav Maharaj, and Aiden Markram helped restrict India to 287/6 in the first innings, despite a typically vibrant 85 from Rishabh Pant seemingly having set the away side up for a far bigger total.

Quinton de Kock set the standard in the stiff run chase with an early salvo that put the Proteas ahead of the required rate, with each of the South African top five contributing as they reached the target with 11 balls remaining.

“Quinton made it easy for me at the start,” said Malan in the virtual press conference after the match. “I just tried to give him as much strike as possible because I just wanted to let him go do his thing. He played a couple of ridiculous shots, which are good signs.”

“He is one of the best batters in the world when he gets going, so it was good to bat with him,” he added.

Quinton de Kock Photographer: Isuru Sameera Peiris/Getty Images
Quinton de Kock Photographer: Isuru Sameera Peiris/Getty Images

Talking about facing Indian bowlers, Malan shared his experience as batter said: “Guys like me who have seen them bowling at IPL and international level. So it was good to go out against them. You need more time to face guys like those because you need to get the rhythm of each one of them. So it was a kinda challenge for me to do it in the first and second game.”

“It’s obviously not the best bowling conditions but they are a world-class team and bowlers so it’s good to have a challenge from them,” the 25-year-old added.

Wicketkeeper batter Rishabh Pant registered a career-best 85 off 71 balls as India managed to set up a 288-run target against South Africa. But, South African openers Janneman Malan and Quinton de Kock added 132 for the opening wicket as the Proteas eased to victory by seven wickets.

Riding on half-centuries from Janneman Malan and Quinton de Kock, South Africa beat India by 7 wickets in the second One Day Internationals on Friday to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in three-match series. Janneman Malan (91) missed his well-deserved century by 9 runs, while Quinton de Kock scored 78 runs as South Africa chased down the stiff target of 288 with 11 balls to spare. It was a fourth back-to-back defeat for India on this tour.

Janneman Malan Happy For South Africa Having Good Partnerships In The Ongoing ODI Series

The partnerships among South African batters are one of the major factors in Proteas’ successes in this series.

Shedding light on that, Malan said: “We were happy to have two hundred in the previous game, and maybe we could have had me or Quinny getting to a hundred, but I’m very proud of the partnerships we had.”

South Africa's Temba Bavuma and Rassie van der Dussen during their partnership (ANI)
South Africa’s Temba Bavuma and Rassie van der Dussen during their partnership. (ANI)

“We had a hundred partnership and two 50 partnerships, which means the batters are coming in with good plans and good intent and building nice partnerships to make it easier for each other. It’s a very good sign,” he added. 

Temba Bavuma and Rassie van der Dussen’s twin centuries helped South Africa beat India by 31 runs in the first match of the three-match series at Boland Park, Paarl.

South Africa captain Temba Bavuma (110) and Rassie van der Dussen (129*) stitched together South Africa’s second-highest partnership (204) against India and helped the hosts reach 296 for 4 at the end of their innings. Chasing 297 on a sluggish pitch, the visitors only managed 265/8 in their 50 overs.

Virat Kohli. Credit: Reuters Photo
Virat Kohli. Credit: Reuters Photo
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Virat Kohli Registers 14th ODI Duck; Goes Past Rahul Dravid And Rohit Sharma’s Tally

Virat Kohli was dismissed without scoring in the second ODI against and in South Africa at the Boland Park in Paarl on Friday. Former India captain Virat Kohli is not going through the best phases of his career.

The right-hander, who has already earned the status of a modern-day great from many experts, went past the likes of Rahul Dravid and Rohit Sharma in an unwanted list. Virat Kohli was dismissed for a fifth-ball duck.

 Virat Kohli fell for 0 for the 14th time in his ODI career on Friday (Reuters Photo)
Virat Kohli fell for 0 for the 14th time in his ODI career on Friday (Reuters Photo)

Virat Kohli Dismissed Without Scoring In 2nd ODI, Goes Past Rahul Dravid And Rohit Sharma’s Tally Of 13 Ducks In ODIs

Virat Kohli was dismissed without scoring in the second ODI against South Africa at the Boland Park in Paarl on Friday. This was the 14th duck in Virat Kohli’s ODI career. He went past Rahul Dravid, the current India head coach, and Rohit Sharma, the current India white-ball skipper. Both Rahul Dravid and Rohit Sharma have 13 ODI ducks to their names.

Rohit Sharma, Rahul Dravid
Rohit Sharma, Rahul Dravid. (Photo: BCCI)

Virat Kohli is currently joint fourth in the list of most ducks in 50-overs cricket by Indians along with Suresh Raina and Virender Sehwag. The top three in the list of most ducks registered by Indian batters batting between No.1 to 7 are Sachin Tendulkar (20), Yuvraj Singh (18), and Sourav Ganguly (16).

It was Virat Kohli’s 14th duck in One Day Internationals and Keshav Maharaj became the first spinner to dismiss Virat Kohli for a duck in the 50-over format. In the first ODI, Virat Kohli had achieved another milestone as became the Indian batsman with the most number of ODI runs away from home, surpassing Sachin Tendulkar.

MOST DUCKS FOR INDIA IN ODI CRICKET

  1. Sachin Tendulkar – 20 ducks
  2. Javagal Srinath – 19 ducks
  3. Anil Kumble – 18 ducks
  4. Yuvraj Singh – 18 ducks
  5. Harbhajan Singh – 17 ducks
  6. Sourav Ganguly – 16 ducks
  7. Zaheer Khan – 14 ducks
  8. Virat Kohli – 14 ducks
  9. Suresh Raina – 14 ducks
  10. Virender Sehwag – 14 ducks
  11. Rahul Dravid – 13 ducks
  12. Kapil Dev – 13 ducks

The 33-year-old, who stepped down as India’s Test captain and is playing the ongoing ODI series only as a batter after five years, was out for a five-ball duck when he tried to drive a Keshav Maharaj delivery but ended up providing a simple catch to the cover fielder.

Virat Kohli Also Equaled His Longest Streak Without An ODI Ton Since August 2019

Virat Kohli also equalled his longest streak (in terms of innings) without an ODI hundred. The second ODI marked the 17th straight occasion when he went without scoring a century. The last ODI hundred he scored was in West Indies in August 2019. The last time he went 17 innings without getting to three figures was between the 2011 World Cup in February to September of that same year.

Virat Kohli celebrates his last Test century during the second day of the second Test cricket match of a two-match series between India and Bangladesh at the Eden Gardens cricket stadium in Kolkata on November 23, 2019. (Photo by Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP) /
Virat Kohli celebrates his last Test century (Photo by Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP)

If Virat Kohli doesn’t score a hundred in the third and final ODI against South Africa, then it will be his longest streak without an ODI ton.

Virat Kohli’s lean patch is not only restricted to white-ball cricket. In fact, it is more prominent in Tests. The prolific right-hander is averaging well under 30 in the last couple of years and his last hundred came in November 2019 against Bangladesh, which incidentally was his last international century.

India lost the second ODI by 7 wickets to the Proteas, who have taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series. The third and final ODI will be played on Sunday, January 23 at the Newlands in Cape Town.

India batted first and put up 287 for 6 as Rishabh Pant top-scored with 85 while KL Rahul contributed 55. In response, South African openers Janneman Malan and Quinton de Kock added 132 for the opening wicket as the Proteas eased to victory by seven wickets. Janneman Malan was the home team’s top-scorer with 91 off 108 while his senior opening partner Quinton de Kock made 78 off 66 balls.

Brief Score: 2nd ODI: South Africa 288 for 3 (Malan 91, de Kock 78) beat India 287 for 6 (Rishabh Pant 85, KL Rahul 55, Shamsi 2-57) by seven wickets

Virat Kohli, KL Rahul | Photo Credit: AP
Virat Kohli, KL Rahul | Photo Credit: AP
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KL Rahul And Virat Kohli Were Sitting Apart: Danish Kaneria Claims India Divided Into 2 Groups

KL Rahul’s long-term captaincy is at stake and a series defeat against South Africa isn’t going to do his case any good. India will look to make amends in the batting department after South Africa crushed them both strategically as well as on skills in the ODI series opener on Wednesday at Paarl. India had lost the Test series 2-1.

The Indian team stuttered once opener Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli, recently snubbed as ODI skipper, were out in quick succession following their 90-plus stand, which eventually led to the batting camp losing wickets in a cluster and falling short of the target by 31 runs. South Africa posted 296/4 on the board after opting to bat and restricted India to 265/8 despite the requisite fifties from Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, and Shardul Thakur.

Shikhar Dhawan (Getty Images)(HT_PRINT)
Shikhar Dhawan (Getty Images)(HT_PRINT)

Danish Kaneria: Indian Dressing Room Divided Into Two Groups

Virat Kohli, playing his first game after relinquishing Test captaincy, scored 51 off 63 deliveries but former Pakistan tweaker Danish Kaneria feels the former ODI skipper wasn’t the usual exuberant self. Danish Kaneria, who bagged 261 wickets in 61 Tests for Pakistan, also pondered a divide in the dressing room after Virat Kohli’s exit from the leadership role.

“We saw that the Indian dressing room was divided into two groups. KL Rahul and Virat Kohli were sitting apart. Also, Kohli wasn’t in the same mood as he used to be when he was the captain. But he’s a team man and will come back stronger,” said Danish Kaneria on his YouTube channel.

Danish Kaneria (Image credit: Twitter)
Danish Kaneria (Image credit: Twitter)

“After losing the Test series, India would be eager to redeem themselves and clinch the ODI rubber. But KL Rahul hasn’t shown that spark until now. He had led in the Test series but wasn’t able to lift the team to break the South African partnership.

“At one stage, it didn’t look like the Proteas would put up 296 on the scoreboard. Lack of intensity from the Indian team helped the opposition in scoring such a total. There were also fielding lapses from the visitors,” Danish Kaneria further said.

Yuzvendra Chahal and Shardul Thakur were being taken to the cleaners by Rassie van der Dussen and Temba Bavuma. Debutant Venkatesh Iyer was not utilized for his bowling ability, raising question marks over his presence as an additional bowling option.

While the South African spinners left their mark on the wicket, the spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Ravichandran Ashwin, in its combined 20 overs, gave away 106 runs for a single wicket. On the other hand, Proteas spinners Aiden Markram, Tabraiz Shamsi, and Keshav Maharaj bowled 26 overs between them for 124 runs and shared four wickets between them.

Danish Kaneria: KL Rahul Needs To Lift Up Captaincy, Batting, And Team

Danish Kaneria feels KL Rahul needs to lift up the team for the second game of the series. During India’s previous ODI series on the South African soil, spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal had combined to snare 33 wickets in six games and Danish Kaneria expects a similar performance from the current pair of Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal.

“KL Rahul needs to lift up captaincy and batting as well. He needs to lift the team. Also, Bhuvneshwar Kumar gave away many runs against South Africa and the Ashwin-Chahal pair didn’t look effective like the Kuldeep-Chahal duo. India didn’t use Venkatesh Iyer’s bowling services too.

“The next ODI will be played at the same venue and India needs to learn from their mistakes. Their intensity was poor in the series opener,” Danish Kaneria further said.

KL Rahul Image Source : GETTY IMAGES
KL Rahul Image Source: GETTY IMAGES

India will now look for a win to level the series. The hosts have gained a 1-0 lead in the three-match series and the second game will be played on the same ground on Friday. In the 2nd ODI, India opted to bat first and is placed on 119/2 after 23 overs losing the two wickets in the form of Shikhar Dhawan (29) and Virat Kohli (0). KL Rahul (43) and Rishabh Pant (36) are at the crease.

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