Team Indian head coach Rahul Dravid has said that India’s white-wash against South Africa is a “good eye-opener”. He added that the 3-0 whitewash happened because of a lack of exposure to ODIs, the absence of some key players and basic mistakes in the middle-overs as well.
India were simply outplayed in the first two ODIs, losing the games by 31 runs and seven wickets respectively. But, the final match, played in Cape Town on Sunday, was a nail-biting one as they lost by only 4 runs. While speaking at the post-series press conference, Dravid said:
“This One-Day series has certainly been a good eye-opener for us. We have not played a lot of One-Day cricket. Obviously, it’s my first stint with the One-Day side but even the team hasn’t played a lot of One-Day cricket since the last World Cup. I think the last they played was against England in March of last year.”
He continued: “And luckily, I think, we’ve got a fair bit of time before the World Cup next year. And you know, it’s going to be a lot of cricket from now on till then in the white-ball formats. I think it’s going to be a good opportunity for us to really reflect and learn and look to keep improving and getting better. And yeah, we’ll get better, we’ll improve, there’s no doubt about that.”
Meanwhile, India’s last ODI series came against Sri Lanka in July 2021 under Rahul Dravid, who had acted as head coach in the second-string Indian team. Meanwhile, South Africa too didn’t have much ODI preparation of late either. They last played in the ODI in July 2021 against Ireland.
We didn’t play smart cricket: Rahul Dravid
Rahul Dravid also stated that the non-availability of the all-rounders – Ravindra Jadeja and Hardik Pandya (both were not match-fit at the time of selection) hurt the balance of the team as well.
He said: “We could certainly do better with the batting in the middle-overs. Certainly. We understand the template. You know, a large part of your template is also dependent on the balance of your squad… If you are being honest, some of the guys that have helped us out here and given us those all-round options at 6, 7 and 8 are not here, are not available for selection. So probably when they come back, they’ll give us a little more depth which allows us to play in a certain slightly different style.”
Rahul Dravid again added: “But having said that, even South Africa who batted first on two occasions scored only 290 as well … If I think about the 30th over in those two games, we should have chased it down but we didn’t because we played some poor shots and we didn’t play smart cricket at critical situations.”
Meanwhile, India’s middle-order woes cost them the series too. Apart from Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant, Shardul Thakur, others failed to contribute much.
“Without singling out just the spinners, I think through the middle-overs we need to improve our wicket-taking options. Spinners do play a big role in that but the quicks coming back, the kind of balls we bowl also – we have discussed that, spoken about that, we understand that that’s an area of the game where we’ve been behind a little bit, just that ability to take wickets through the middle and what we need to do about that,” Rahul Dravid concluded.