India’s spin legend Anil Kumble believes that South Africa’s attempt to match the Indian balance like other touring sides cost them the Vizag Test against Virat Kohli and his team last week.
Kumble, former India head coach, further went on to claim that South Africa’s choice to pick three spinners in the Vizag Test was inspired by their horror series defeat 0-3 in 2015, while suggesting the tourists to read the Indian pitches correctly instead of reacting to what they saw in 2015.
The tourists were beaten by 203 runs in the first Test of the ongoing three-match series by the hosts and he was not really convinced by the idea of fielding three spinners in Vizag.
Kumble told Cricketnext, “When some of the foreign teams that come to India, they tend to match the Indian balance and their balance goes haywire and that is what the South African team has fallen into.”
He continued, “I don't know what they saw in the first day pitch but they probably thought that this was going to be a minefield, they probably had the previous series in mind when they travelled here in 2015 and they probably had those demons still in the mind when they saw the pitch and that is probably why they chose three spinners. You just need to back your strengths and back your spinners and then go with that rather than reacting to what you see. And unless or until you have three quality spinners who can win you a match, you should go with the balance that you think can pick up 20 wickets. They probably read the pitch wrong and that's why they went with three spinners.”
Meanwhile, Kumble admitted that South Africa has a quality batting, as Dean Elgar and Quinton de Kock scored tons while Faf du Plessis hit a fighting half-century in Visakhapatnam, but suggested the Proteas side to quickly fix their bowling combination to challenge India in the ongoing Test series.
He further added, “South Africa are a quality side. Unfortunately, In the second innings, that first session at the start before lunch, Shami just blew them away. The odd ball was keeping low and Shami got everything on the stumps. Early on when you get those kinds of deliveries, if you are a bit circumspect, it can backfire and that is exactly what happened to South Africa. Maybe because the previous day had not gone well for them that is why they believed it was pretty easy.
Still you know, it can happen to you. And that is something South Africa would have discussed; take the first innings when you had Quinton de Kock and Dean Elgar scoring hundreds, Faf Du Plessis looked really good in the first innings. Even in the second innings until he had that brain fade which he does sometimes - he just leaves the ball and I think they have the capability of a big score against India, they have shown that in the first innings and that is the confidence they need to take into the second match.”
Kumble signed off by saying “One thing that they need to fix very quickly is that their bowling line up. You would want your bowlers to look threatening. In very few stages of the game did they threaten the Indian batsmen so that is something that the South Africans must be contemplating, on which combination they need to pick to get those 20 Indian wickets.”
(With Cricketnext Inputs)