South Africa sojourn – Could India have done better in the first test match!

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May be, maybe not. But certainly, they should do a few things better.

Never embark on such tours as the present South African one, or to England, New Zealand without a few practice games under your belt.

KL Rahul must replace Shikhar Dhawan. On tracks, where the ball seams and swings with a lot of lateral movement, Dhawan is not the best candidate. He plays a little “airy-fairy” and away from the body and is not in the same class as Virendra Sehwag!

Rohit Sharma is a colossal player on easy wickets. Under tough batting conditions or in unfriendly   situations, he has not been able to show up as a quality player, which one expects from him. Ajinkya Rahane, the proven mettle outside the sub-continent, tough conditions, should have been the first choice, albeit his poor form. One may call it hindsight wisdom or whatever. Rahane knows what it takes to perform there, and his form may possibly be one match away!

Murli Vijay has a very important role to keep one end bottled up. He must leave more balls than play, which he had been admirably doing hitherto.

Cheteshwar Pujara tends to forget that he also has a role to score runs. Under the present, challenging batting conditions, mere grafting will neither help him nor his team. He too must take some chances on the balls on his side of the pitch, to be effective in South Africa. On such helpful bowling tracks and the kind of quality South Africa bowlers, it may be quite difficult for anyone to hold on to the crease for too long!

Wriddhiman Saha needs to remind himself that he can be effective with the bat as well.

Virat Kohli once again showed his charismatic dynamism in including a fifth bowler-batsman in Hardik Pandaya rather than succumbing to 6 pure batsmen and 4 bowlers. Also, his choice of Bumbra in place of Ishant Sharma or an Umesh Yadav was to create the “unknown”, the X-Factor. How well it worked!

Let team India make a few alterations and put up a fight that is a winning one or at least one that has a closer match finish.

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Sandeep Sinha is an avid sports follower with very keen interest in Cricket, Tennis and Badminton. Professional commitments have kept him pre-occupied with other things in life. Now he is looking forward to contributing more to sports, which according to him is “so dear to his life”.

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