South Africa are 3-0 down against India in the six match ODI series. India has earned thumping and dominating wins over South Africa in all the three games.
Given that South Africa have missed AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock at various stages of the series, it was a chance for the Proteas next generation to step up and take up the mantle from the seniors. However, former captain Graeme Smith feels that the domination by India in the ODI series proved that the gen-next is not ready for such a challenge.
"India team is very deservingly 3-0 up in the series. While South Africa have lost three key players (AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock) to injuries but it also showed that next generation of South African cricketers is not quite ready to take it on," Smith said.
Virat Kohli (318 runs with two hundreds) along with wrist spinners Yuzvendra Chahal (11 wickets) and Kuldeep Yadav (10) have contributed considerably to India's resounding wins so far.
Smith continued, “At the moment, it looks like a big series loss for the team and it could be disappointing. Post 2019 (World Cup), I think we would lose a couple of players (like AB de Villiers) and this series in particular showed that next level of players have a lot of work to do in order to get up to the standards where they can at least be competitive.”
Smith, who was the youngest Test captain for South Africa and led them in a record 117 Tests, said, “I think SA cricket will have to really plan as to how they are looking to blood youngsters. May be keep them in the system (academy or domestic cricket) a bit longer.”
Smith also talked about South African batting playing spin, "They havent simply batted well enough. There wasn't may be enough experience in the middle-order but still there was JP Duminy and David Miller who have played a lot of international cricket and quality spin bowling in the IPL. But these are two exciting wrist-spinners, who controlled every game. South Africa simply have not yet found out a way to progress in those middle overs where they (Chahal-Kuldeep) have taken control of the game. That's why India dominated."
He however praised Kuldeep and Chahal, saying “With no Murali or Warne now, it is great for the game that Chahal and Kuldeep have come in. There was no mystery spinner in the game as such and their current performances have lifted spirits and made it exciting."
"I would look at India's team selection. Rahane should have played from start. India needed to play with an extra batter and the extra bowler they played was not required. Centurion was a very flat deck and India would be disappointed that they lost that Test series," Smith summed up.