The last time South Africa had toured India, pitches had pretty much taken the spotlight off the hosts’ thumping 3-0 win. India had thoroughly dominated the Proteas in that series which was Virat Kohli’s first as captain at home. South African batsmen had looked all at sea on the rank turners as Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja ran riot.
But unlike the last time, India welcomed South Africa with friendly pitches this time around. There were no demons in the pitch but the Proteas still failed miserably as India thrashed them by an innings and 202 runs in the third Test to complete a historic whitewash. Starting day four on 132 for 8, South Africa could add only 1 run before Shahbaz Nadeem picked both the wickets.
India head coach Ravi Shastri was absolutely pumped up after the thumping win and spoke about the games and the players’ performance. Shastri started by speaking about the pitches which have garnered more attention than India’s performances in recent past. Shastri said that the team now focusses more on taking 20 wickets instead of the nature of the pitch.
“Our motto was to take pitches out of the equation. ‘Bhaad me gaya pitch’ (to hell with the pitches). Whether it’s Johannesburg or Melbourne or Mumbai, we want to take the pitch out of the equation. With the batting line-up we have, if they post big totals and then we have bowlers who can take 20 wickets – we can keep taking those world championship points we’re after. Rahane was never going to go anywhere, he had to rediscover his touch which he’s done,” Ravi Shastri told Star Sports after the match.
Praise for Rohit Sharma
Ravi Shastri further spoke about Rohit Sharma’s performance. India promoted Rohit as an opener in the series and the move has paid rich dividends. With three centuries in four innings including the career-best 212 in the Ranchi Test, Rohit finished the series as the top run-scorer and walked away with the Man of the Series award.
“Rohit – different plane altogether. As an opener, your mindset has to be different. On the first day here, it was touch. Rohit worked his way out of it, but he kept thinking he had to work hard and cash in when the pitch gets better. That’s what happened. Normally in India, you have two players who hog the limelight. Here we’ve had six or seven payers,” said Ravi Shastri.
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