South Africa completed a 3-0 clean sweep against India in the ODI series on Sunday after winning the third game by four runs. India did push South Africa to the brink with Deepak Chahar making a brilliant cameo, but the disappointing middle-class show of Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer and Suryakumar Yadav once again proved to be a major factor. After the game, head coach Rahul Dravid said the visitors could have done better in the center backs and also warned that there is “a lot of competition” for the spots in India’s playing XI.
“Whether you hit 4, 5 or 6, you have to know what the team’s demands are. Shreyas went in pretty early in all three games and he’s had plenty of time (out there in the middle),” said the former Indian. captain.
“We know guys have done well and we would like to support them as much as possible. Sometimes they would have good tours and sometimes it won’t be possible, that’s the way it is.”
“Obviously there’s a lot of competition, people looking for places and it’s not easy in that kind of situation,” he added.
Chasing a goal of 288 runs, the visitors were knocked out for 283 in 49.2 overs. Despite the early departure of stand-in captain KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli gave India a solid platform with punches of 61 runs and 65 runs respectively. But after their departure, India failed to impress with their middle order.
Coming in to bat at No. 4, Pant was fired for a golden duck. Meanwhile, Iyer could only collect 26 runs from 34 balls and Suryakumar added 39 runs to the scoreboard.
Dravid pointed out that his team didn’t do well in the center backs and didn’t “play smart cricket in critical situations”.
“We could definitely do better hitting in middle overs,” Dravid said.
“We didn’t because we played some bad shots and we didn’t play smart cricket in critical situations.”
The former India captain also explained that players will not be dropped immediately because management wants to give them “consistency”, but they also have to deliver “great performances”.
“We definitely want to give them that consistency and we want to give them that assurance,” he said.
“And once you give them that consistency and certainty, you also have to demand performance, really big performances and that’s an expectation you have when you play at this level, when you play for your country, you have to deliver big performances and that is a requirement. But the idea is to give as much stability as possible.”
(with PTI inputs)
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