SA v IND 2018: Rohit Sharma’s footwork will always trouble him in South Africa, says Kepler Wessels

Wessels also explained why SA batsmen struggle against quality wrist spinners.

Rabada celebrates dismissing Rohit Sharma | Getty

Rohit Sharma has had a troubling ODI series against South Africa so far. He has returned the scores of 20,15,0 and 5 in the first four matches. Fingers have started to point at Rohit, asking questions about how longer of a rope can be extended to him, despite his failures.

Former South Africa captain Kepler Wessels, who opened batting for both Australia and South Africa, was interviewed by Times of India, revealed why Rohit Sharma will always struggled in South Africa.

Wessels said, “He will always struggle to score runs in SA because of his footwork. He plants his front foot across to the off-side and in SA, the pitches always seam and bounce a bit. This is the reason that he averages around 10 there. He'll always struggle there because of his technique. It doesn't affect him in India and even in Australia, because the ball doesn't seam there, it just bounces, but when you have seam and bounce, with that technique, he's got a problem.

Talking about Shikhar Dhawan, Wessels said, “He looks very impressive in one-day cricket. He's superb there. In the Tests, he's still vulnerable to the short ball, but the overall package is very good.

Talking about the difference of Indian team in Tests and ODIs, Wessels said, “I think that they've got a totally different team, a totally different arsenal. They have introduced the two legspinners which has totally confused the SA set-up. I think that India's One-Day team at the moment is very good. Their Test team is good too. I mean they are ranked No. 1 in the Tests, but I think that this ODI team, with the combination and variety that they have is excellent.

Wessels remarked that he was highly impressed with the Indian fast bowlers in the Test series.

Wessels was impressed by Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah in Tests

He said, “It has impressed me. I thought that they bowled superbly in the Tests. They bowled wicket-taking deliveries. Before the Tests, I thought that the Indian batsmen would score runs and the bowlers would struggle to bowl SA out, but it turned out to be the other way around. The bowlers were really good and the batsmen struggled.

They've got good skills. They move the ball, hit the seam, and have also got variety. They are all a bit different (to each other). Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) swings it nicely, Bumrah hits the pitch hard. He can also bowl some nice yorkers and quick bouncers. So, that has been a big plus as far as Indian cricket is concerned... the fact that they now have fast bowlers who can take wickets abroad,” he said about Indian pacers.

Talking about why South African batters are struggling to pick the Indian spinners, Wessels said, “I'm a little bit surprised (to see) them struggle to the degree that they have (against the leggies). Then also, when you take out all their entire top batsmen (due to injuries), with the exception of Hashim Amla, and expose all their inexperienced players, I suppose that's going to happen, but I have been a bit surprised that they have struggled as badly as they have. They are particularly struggling to play the wrist spin and the chinaman. They are facing difficulty picking the ball which turns away from the right angle, that's the one they are really struggling with.

Barring the pink ODI, Kuldeep and Chahal have been all over the Proteas batting

He continued, “Some of those guys have never ever played a chinaman bowler before. In addition, they didn't realise how good those two wrist spinners were. They were blindsided by that. I'm sure that they did know that they were good, but they didn't know how good (this duo is) and they were a bit surprised by that.

Talking about India’s chances in 2019 World Cup, Wessels remarked, “I wouldn't say favourites, but they will be very competitive. Barring injuries to key players, it's looking good for them. They will be difficult to beat.

And about South Africa, he said, “Right now, we're going to need to improve in every department. They need to make sure that their key players are playing well when they are in form. They need to get more variety in the bowling department. They don't have the spinners right now.


By Jatin Sharma - 11 Feb, 2018

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