Team India after a consistent run under Vitraat Kohli suffered their first major defeat in 2018. South Africa in Cape Town proved to be the better team at the end of the Test match and thus took a 1-0 lead in the series.
Lance Klusner in a recent interview to Firstpost, spoke about how Kohli can address this issue and what changes can he bring about in the team to force a winning result in Centurion.
“There is some serious quality in this Indian batting line-up. They have been playing well consistently, that’s why they are ranked No 1 in the world. Yes, the conditions are different over here (in South Africa). But you cannot count them out yet."
“If India wants to do well in the remaining two matches, (Virat) Kohli needs to score runs. He is the best batsman in the side and when he doesn’t score, a native mindset is created in the team. Others may feel when the best player in the team is not good enough to score runs, then how can they survive in these conditions. So, I hope the captain will lead from the from the front in the next match and set up the series for an exciting finish. Let me tell you, he is well capable of doing that.”
On being asked to talk about which areas Kohli’s men should look to improve in, Klusener said: “First and foremost, as a visiting batting unit if you want to do well in South Africa, you need to have proper planning against short-pitch bowling. You cannot go half-hearted. Either you have to leave (the short ball) well or you have to play the hook and pull shots. Once you show that you’re assured against the short stuff, then bowlers will be forced to pitch the ball on your half and that will create scoring opportunities.”
Furthermore, he also suggested that batsmen need to show ‘controlled aggression’ rather than just looking at survival.
“On these wickets, as a batsman, you are never settled. You don’t know when a ball will get you out. So, you always have to look for scoring opportunities like Hardik Pandya showed in the first innings. Though in the end, his knock (95-ball 93) hasn’t turned out to be a match-winning one, it certainly brought India back in the reckoning from nowhere. I feel controlled aggression is the way forward here (for a batsman).”
Klusner rounded off by praising Hardik Pandya and deemed him as having a long career in whites for India. “India have been looking for a seam-bowling all-rounder for quite a while now. And in Pandya, they have found a world-class option. His all-round skill allows the captain to explore a lot of options, especially in the conditions we have in South Africa" concluded Klusner.