India defeated South Africa in the sixth and final ODI to win the series 5-1. This dominating performance by the Indian team cemented their place at the top of ICC ODI team rankings. Virat Kohli was again at the centre of the things, as he scored his third century of the series and 35th in ODIs.
This series win has proven that Indian team is definitely on the right path for the 2019 World Cup. However coach Ravi Shastri had a different opinion and in a chat with the Times of India, he said, “We’re far from ready. This is a great win. But there’s a lot of work to do over the next few months.”
“It’s an area that requires work to be done. The top-order has batted beautifully and our bowlers were phenomenal but the fifth, sixth and the seventh slot in the batting order needs to be worked upon. Once we’re done with this series, we’ll have to sit down and weigh all options once again very carefully,” he said about India’s faltering middle order.
“I’ll be the first to admit our middle-order batting has looked ordinary. We failed to convert good starts into big totals. So, there are factors we’re looking at. At the same time, there are players back in India who’ve been doing well in domestic cricket. Over the last six months, we had conveyed (to those who are potential India caps) what the team will be looking at, in terms of skills, fitness, challenges etc. Once this tour concludes, it’ll be time to revisit those conversations,” Shastri added.
Shastri however applauded the work done by the bowlers in the serious and reserved special praise for Kuldeep and Chahal.
He said, “(Yuzvendra) Chahal and (Kuldeep) Yadav have been brilliant and Boom (Jasprit Bumrah), what can I say about him. It’s been a fantastic effort. As I said, we’ll sit and go through all of this once we’re done here. The most important bit? Look at the middle-order. If we can work on that and improve, there’s no stopping this Indian team.”