India and South Africa will now battle in a six match ODI series, after the completion of a very intriguing Test series, that India lost 2-1. India is the no.1 ODI side and South Africa is the no.2 side and at the series might see South Africa reach the top spot.
There are many hopes from the ODI series, after the fans were left unfulfilled with the outcome of 3 match Test series. Former India opener and Captain Sunil Gavaskar praised India’s win at Wanderers in his column for Times of India.
He wrote, “The batting on a most difficult and unpredictable pitch was tremendous to watch and should dispel once and forever the myth that Indians can’t play pace. The fact of the matter is nobody can play good sustained fast bowling. Even the don had his problems in the body line series and no batsman in the world can put his hand on his heart and say he enjoys playing good fast bowling."
“At best one can cope with it to the best of one’s ability and that’s what the Indians showed at the Bullring Wanderers. They showed the gumption, the guts and the determination to take the blows and hang in there. South African batsmen succumbed so can we jump to the conclusion and say they can’t play pace?” Gavaskar wrote.
Gavaskar also pointed out the facts that while Ajinkya Rahane and KL Rahul are answers for India’s no.4 position problem; both play at different positions in different formats. Rahane bats in middle order in Tests, but is only chosen as an opener in ODIs; while Rahul opens in Tests and bats in middle order in ODIs.
“This is what the Indian team selection has to guard against, jumping to conclusions and selecting or leaving out players based on one performance. Theories about pitches and who can bat or bowl on particular surfaces also should be thrown out of the window and the best team selected. The old saying, ‘form is temporary but class is permanent’ holds good as was seen by Ajinkya Rahane’s batting in the second innings of the third Test. That may still not get him a place in the One-day series since he has been slotted as an opening batsman. This is where there’s confusion. Rahul opens in Tests but bats in the middle-order in T20s and Rahane bats middle order in Tests but can find a place in ODIs only as an opener. Both may eventually not play but in their interest, it’s important to tell them that they are flexible players who should be ready to bat anywhere in the order.” Gavaskar added in his column.
Even captain Virat Kohli admitted that the no.4 conundrum is something the team management wants to solve before World Cup 2019.
“We have explored many options in the last few months. We don't have too many series and too much time left before the World Cup, so we want to explore all the options before the World Cup," Kohli told reporters here on Wednesday.
"I had said earlier that Ajinkya Rahane would be looked at as a third opener but that situation can change because he has batted at No. 4 in a World Cup (in 2015) before. These conditions are such that you get to play fast bowling throughout the innings so he becomes a strong candidate for No. 4,” Kohli said.
"Other than him we have Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey. We don't want to be one-dimensional. It depends whose technique is more suited to what spot especially in that particular country. All options are open," the Indian captain had said.