India in South Africa 2013-14 December 3, 2013

Less-significant South Africa tour still vital yardstick for India

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This was supposed to be India's big tour. It was two years of home cricket in the making. India had even sent an A team here earlier in the year to become more familiar with the conditions. And it was a proper A team: except for Virat Kohli, all the Test batsmen in this side made the trip. Coach Duncan Fletcher himself dropped in. For a change, the cricketing wing of Team India was looking ahead, or possibly the change was that it was being paid heed to.

It was a proper tour: three Tests, seven ODIs, two Twenty20s. Enough time to travel all over this beautiful country. Enough time to lose form, enough to regain it. Enough time for ups and downs and all the experiences a cricket tour brings. Enough time for rhythms to build. Except that the real world sometimes doesn't agree with proper cricket. And so we have a tour not many are excited about. Three years ago "we are waiting" billboards welcomed India everywhere they went. This time around the local press seems to suggest only aggressive crowds are waiting to let their displeasure be known.

The statistics being dug out are of the last time a team other than Zimbabwe, Bangladesh or the Associates came to South Africa for a tour of decent length but didn't go to Cape Town at all. Incidentally, it happened back in November 2002 when Sri Lanka didn't play any of their five ODIs and two Tests in the Mother City. Once the disappointment of a wasted tour subsides, though, you will realise it is still a significant trip for India. There is a "last" that happened with India much before the last time a visiting team didn't go to Cape Town.

The last time India went through such complete overhaul of batting, going to a proper - in terms of strength of opposition, not duration - tour with such a raw batting line-up, full of virtual debutants, was when Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid, and later VVS Laxman, started to join Sachin Tendulkar in the middle order. All four properly came together incidentally on a tour of South Africa. In a way Tendulkar has not done India many favours by playing all the home Tests and then retiring before this tour. Those were matches a youngster could have used to gain experience before a year full of overseas assignments.

Like the mutated tour, though, you have no choice but to be philosophical about this now. These batsmen still have it better than their predecessors. That the ODIs are before the Tests salvages the situation a bit for India. As MS Dhoni said before leaving for South Africa, the nature of that format and that it demands a more free-flowing game will help the young batting line-up get rid of early nerves before the two-Test series begins. In a way, the same can be said in the larger scheme of these batsmen's careers too.

When Dravid and Ganguly made their Test debut, in England, they had played five and two ODIs, and had barely seen the world outside India. Laxman was on a tour of South Africa before he had played an ODI. Only Virender Sehwag among that older group had with him a body of work in international cricket - 22 ODIs - before he became a Test cricketer.

Almost all of the batsmen on this trip have had experience of being in international cricket before this tour. Rohit Sharma set the record for most ODIs before Test debut, Shikhar Dhawan faces Dale Steyn in the IPL nets, and Kohli has established himself as one of the best chasers in ODIs and captains the likes of AB de Villiers. Even though this batting line-up has a collective experience of three Tests in South Africa, they have the exposure, they are more worldly wise, more confident than Dravid, Ganguly and Laxman were when they were sent to face Allan Donald, Shaun Pollock, a young and quick Lance Klusener, and Brian McMillan. The test now is of their skill, of their temperament, of how they adjust to the conditions, how they make the adjustment from facing Sammy and his friendly friends in Kanpur to Steyn and Co on pitches with bounce and seam.

It's not all about the batsmen, though. India's famous overseas Test wins have of late been set up by their bowlers. They have also tended to escape a lot of flak because it has always been the great Indian batting line-up that has been expected to carry them through everywhere. This time around, under the mentorship of the returning Zaheer Khan, they will possibly be asked the same number of questions as the batsmen.

Apart from Zaheer, only Ishant Sharma has played a Test in South Africa, and he doesn't look like he will add to that tally. The bowlers, too, will rely on the ODIs to get used to the outfields on which they will run in, to condition themselves to bowl long spells, to find the lengths that will give them assistance. Like the batsmen, they might benefit from lower expectations.

It is an unusual tour for India. One that promises to actually test how good India's transition from the desperation of 2012 has been, but one that comes with lower expectations than those two away tours in which they were whitewashed. The ODI series, given South Africa's recent form, is open - although South Africa might still fancy a few psychological blows on extra spicy pitches - but in the Tests you'd venture India will take anything better than a 2-0 defeat to a fully fit South African side, provided it doesn't come through weather interruptions.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY Harmony111 on | December 5, 2013, 11:27 GMT

    @Greatest_Game: A bit late now but I saw your comments just now.

    I agree that the wickets in CT13 were not like the usual Eng wickets but this does not mean that if they were slower than usual then they were as slow as typical Indian wickets. There is a point in a middle and that is where they were. Otherwise you would be hard pressed to explain why SA could score only 175 in the SF vs Eng when they had to bat first. Also, if they were just like the typical Ind wickets, why were SA unable to chase 334 vs India like India seem to do all the time on the Indian wickets? India scored 321 vs SL in 37 overs in Aus when it was imperative but why were Aus not able to do the same vs the same opposition on a wicket that was like a typical Indian wicket? Above all, why couldn't Eng score a mere 130 runs in 20 overs which is really nothing in today's age.

    Another angle is ... if Eng can't maintain their usual wickets just due to a long dry spell, why are Indian wickets blamed for being slow?

  • POSTED BY Vilander on | December 4, 2013, 21:28 GMT

    india will play better than they are expected i would be excited to see how Shami goes, but SA should get ODI 3-0 and Tests 2-0.

  • POSTED BY fguy on | December 4, 2013, 19:29 GMT

    "This time around the local press seems to suggest only aggressive crowds are waiting to let their displeasure be known"...brilliant news.. whenever the Indians have been under attack from external sources they've bandied together & performed even better (CT '13, WC '03, Perth '08) so I hope SA fans do that coz it'll mean India will win & if the SA fans dont turn up (as has been suggested) then it wont affect the Indian players one bit, its not like they're starved of attention otherwise & anyways a good number of Indian supporters will be there to keep their spirits up. in fact if SA fans boycott the games it'll become like a home game for the Indians. not to mention the gate receipts will be hurt which will only affect CSA (& indirectly the SA players).. talk about cutting your nose to spite your face

  • POSTED BY Greatest_Game on | December 4, 2013, 19:23 GMT

    @ Nampally wrote "@Greatest -Game: By nature the grass surface in England is always green unless we suddenly have a long dry spell."

    Check the weather records. It WAS a long, dry spell (for England.) The tracks were not green. They simply were not. These pages were filled with comments on that fact. Revise history as much as you want, the tracks were dry.

    " No doubt, they (spinners) were aided by pitch conditions that were unlike the norm at this time of the year in England … The stats seem to validate the premise - the average and the strike rate of spin bowlers in this Champions Trophy were the best in all the editions of the tournament - and that is an interesting evidence considering that three of the seven editions have been played in the subcontinent." http://www.espncricinfo.com/icc-champions-trophy-2013/content/story/643131.html

    Perhaps cricinfo's stats analysis might help your revisionist history. Try reading it!

  • POSTED BY fguy on | December 4, 2013, 18:54 GMT

    dhoni leading a bunch of inexperienced players to SA for the 1st time without seniors & being written off before landing... hope things go as they did the last time that exactly same thing happened (t20 WC '07)

  • POSTED BY on | December 4, 2013, 15:25 GMT

    @GRVJPR...the sign of a nation's strength in a sport can also be measured by whether its supporters can withstand criticism without needing to answer each doubter. This Indian team is definitely more mature than the greenhorns who toured South Africa in the 90's and now that the team contains members picked on form rather than reputation, I definitely expect a much better performance than in Aus and Eng. That being said, until they prove themselves against the SA attack on a bouncy track, they will still be underdogs. Which is fine. Dhoni's boys were underdogs in the T20 WC and they still triumphed. There is really no need to conduct an inquisition on every person who doesn't sing India's praises.

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | December 4, 2013, 14:14 GMT

    @Greatest -Game: By nature the grass surface in England is always green unless we suddenly have a long dry spell. So the grass may have been cut short but the grass is always green in England. The ball was bouncing over the waist level from all Seamers at least 40% of the time. Indian batsmen coped with the bouncing ball very well. The present leader in the ODI is Kohli because he can adjust his batting as needed. Dhawan. Rohit Sharma are equally good. With Dhoni the best finisher in the ODI, the mind playing games of the Media will not cow down the Indian batting talent.If the Indian bowling can bowl a decent length & direction, I cannot see Indians losing the series - SA bouncy pitches & All! The fear mongering tactics will not work because it is a team which can rise up to challenge. Although SA is playing on their home turf, they are well below India in world ODI ranking. SA is also fresh from their series loss to Pakistan within last fortnight! So figure it out who will do better

  • POSTED BY Sid_Naga on | December 4, 2013, 14:00 GMT

    If India can win ODI.. they def can win Test also. SA has almost the same team for ODI and Test.. only Red ball is the concern.. But India can negotiate SA attack. A

  • POSTED BY Offiee on | December 4, 2013, 13:42 GMT

    The ODI Series will be good contest between On high- Indians and trying to make ammends to records- Proteas. Proteas has never been happy hunting ground for Indians and this is good opportunity to get on roll against the consistent Styne remover. Its going to be a good contest between strong Proteas bowling line up against unproven batting line (in South Africa) of India and the vice versa. Let the better team win on the given day.Let Cricket win...

  • POSTED BY ramli on | December 4, 2013, 13:16 GMT

    @Iceman29 ... Yuvraj and Raina are not in test team ... their ODI form needs no worry ... both will shine ... India will win the ODI series ... about tests we don't know yet ... but if India is at least competitive, we can then bank on the choking behaviour of proteas to come to India's rescue

  • POSTED BY Harmony111 on | December 5, 2013, 11:27 GMT

    @Greatest_Game: A bit late now but I saw your comments just now.

    I agree that the wickets in CT13 were not like the usual Eng wickets but this does not mean that if they were slower than usual then they were as slow as typical Indian wickets. There is a point in a middle and that is where they were. Otherwise you would be hard pressed to explain why SA could score only 175 in the SF vs Eng when they had to bat first. Also, if they were just like the typical Ind wickets, why were SA unable to chase 334 vs India like India seem to do all the time on the Indian wickets? India scored 321 vs SL in 37 overs in Aus when it was imperative but why were Aus not able to do the same vs the same opposition on a wicket that was like a typical Indian wicket? Above all, why couldn't Eng score a mere 130 runs in 20 overs which is really nothing in today's age.

    Another angle is ... if Eng can't maintain their usual wickets just due to a long dry spell, why are Indian wickets blamed for being slow?

  • POSTED BY Vilander on | December 4, 2013, 21:28 GMT

    india will play better than they are expected i would be excited to see how Shami goes, but SA should get ODI 3-0 and Tests 2-0.

  • POSTED BY fguy on | December 4, 2013, 19:29 GMT

    "This time around the local press seems to suggest only aggressive crowds are waiting to let their displeasure be known"...brilliant news.. whenever the Indians have been under attack from external sources they've bandied together & performed even better (CT '13, WC '03, Perth '08) so I hope SA fans do that coz it'll mean India will win & if the SA fans dont turn up (as has been suggested) then it wont affect the Indian players one bit, its not like they're starved of attention otherwise & anyways a good number of Indian supporters will be there to keep their spirits up. in fact if SA fans boycott the games it'll become like a home game for the Indians. not to mention the gate receipts will be hurt which will only affect CSA (& indirectly the SA players).. talk about cutting your nose to spite your face

  • POSTED BY Greatest_Game on | December 4, 2013, 19:23 GMT

    @ Nampally wrote "@Greatest -Game: By nature the grass surface in England is always green unless we suddenly have a long dry spell."

    Check the weather records. It WAS a long, dry spell (for England.) The tracks were not green. They simply were not. These pages were filled with comments on that fact. Revise history as much as you want, the tracks were dry.

    " No doubt, they (spinners) were aided by pitch conditions that were unlike the norm at this time of the year in England … The stats seem to validate the premise - the average and the strike rate of spin bowlers in this Champions Trophy were the best in all the editions of the tournament - and that is an interesting evidence considering that three of the seven editions have been played in the subcontinent." http://www.espncricinfo.com/icc-champions-trophy-2013/content/story/643131.html

    Perhaps cricinfo's stats analysis might help your revisionist history. Try reading it!

  • POSTED BY fguy on | December 4, 2013, 18:54 GMT

    dhoni leading a bunch of inexperienced players to SA for the 1st time without seniors & being written off before landing... hope things go as they did the last time that exactly same thing happened (t20 WC '07)

  • POSTED BY on | December 4, 2013, 15:25 GMT

    @GRVJPR...the sign of a nation's strength in a sport can also be measured by whether its supporters can withstand criticism without needing to answer each doubter. This Indian team is definitely more mature than the greenhorns who toured South Africa in the 90's and now that the team contains members picked on form rather than reputation, I definitely expect a much better performance than in Aus and Eng. That being said, until they prove themselves against the SA attack on a bouncy track, they will still be underdogs. Which is fine. Dhoni's boys were underdogs in the T20 WC and they still triumphed. There is really no need to conduct an inquisition on every person who doesn't sing India's praises.

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | December 4, 2013, 14:14 GMT

    @Greatest -Game: By nature the grass surface in England is always green unless we suddenly have a long dry spell. So the grass may have been cut short but the grass is always green in England. The ball was bouncing over the waist level from all Seamers at least 40% of the time. Indian batsmen coped with the bouncing ball very well. The present leader in the ODI is Kohli because he can adjust his batting as needed. Dhawan. Rohit Sharma are equally good. With Dhoni the best finisher in the ODI, the mind playing games of the Media will not cow down the Indian batting talent.If the Indian bowling can bowl a decent length & direction, I cannot see Indians losing the series - SA bouncy pitches & All! The fear mongering tactics will not work because it is a team which can rise up to challenge. Although SA is playing on their home turf, they are well below India in world ODI ranking. SA is also fresh from their series loss to Pakistan within last fortnight! So figure it out who will do better

  • POSTED BY Sid_Naga on | December 4, 2013, 14:00 GMT

    If India can win ODI.. they def can win Test also. SA has almost the same team for ODI and Test.. only Red ball is the concern.. But India can negotiate SA attack. A

  • POSTED BY Offiee on | December 4, 2013, 13:42 GMT

    The ODI Series will be good contest between On high- Indians and trying to make ammends to records- Proteas. Proteas has never been happy hunting ground for Indians and this is good opportunity to get on roll against the consistent Styne remover. Its going to be a good contest between strong Proteas bowling line up against unproven batting line (in South Africa) of India and the vice versa. Let the better team win on the given day.Let Cricket win...

  • POSTED BY ramli on | December 4, 2013, 13:16 GMT

    @Iceman29 ... Yuvraj and Raina are not in test team ... their ODI form needs no worry ... both will shine ... India will win the ODI series ... about tests we don't know yet ... but if India is at least competitive, we can then bank on the choking behaviour of proteas to come to India's rescue

  • POSTED BY TSJ07 on | December 4, 2013, 13:11 GMT

    Although short this may be good learning curve for young inexperienced Indian team and it might prove beneficial in the longer run for the future overseas tours to come. India might have edge in ODI but tests we wont know until both matches have been played. Why??? Coz I would have predicted 2-0 for SA if Gautam/Viru/Sachin has been playing this series but current lot of players of test team except M Vijay are good players with good technique against pacers and they have hunger for runs not to mention their attitude.So I would say they might go down 2-0 in tests but they will go down fighting. And regarding bouncy/lively pitches, SA will be playing into Indian hands if they do so coz this will give Indian seamers like Bhuvi/Zaheer/Shammi better opportunity against SA batsmen. Ind lost 8-0 against AUS/ENG mainly coz they had senior out of form players but now they have been replaced with young players who have waited for their turn and are ready to perform.Best of luck team India!!!!

  • POSTED BY Iceman29 on | December 4, 2013, 12:40 GMT

    We will come to know if the team has improved from End and Aus tour debacle..Neverthless there are still some passengers in this Indian team such as Yuvi and Raina..All eyes will be on them especially on how they perform in Both Test and Oneday....this should be the last chance to Yuvi and Raina atleast for the sake of India's future...

  • POSTED BY whocareswhowins on | December 4, 2013, 12:37 GMT

    As an Indian fan, my humble advice to fellow Indian supporters would be to just take a step back, not put forward aggressive or provocative comments, and let our cricket do the talking. I also realise that there are some comments made by others, and not in the best taste. As modern-day Indians we are a different breed; different from the decades of turning the other cheek, etc. Nowadays we like to give it right back. And sometimes they deserve it too. Sometimes. But I feel we need to show maturity, and not be reactive. So, let our cricket do the talking...

  • POSTED BY TheWayCrciketShouldBePlayed on | December 4, 2013, 11:59 GMT

    I believe Dhoni should concentrate more on his Keeping skills and fitness levels as South African batting lineup will be going to make merry of Indian Bowling lineup if conditions are not overcast. In that scenario, even a single Drop catch or Miss Stumping of a batsman like Kallis/Amla will cost India dearly as they will not give second chance. Coming to Dhoni's batting roles, it can be either one of two scenarios,1) if India is in trouble he has play defensively which is very tough for him in RSA pitches, he cant survive for long, so he has to hit out or get out. 2) If India gets good start, he has to finish innings will a flurry which he can do on any pitch if he wants, so final conclusion is there is nothing for him to concentrate much for tests. So, better he concentrate on ODIs where India has possibility of winning or he contributing more to team.Hope he/other ESPNCricinfo readers understands this logic.

  • POSTED BY on | December 4, 2013, 11:49 GMT

    I think India will do well in the one-dayers, but in the Tests they'll get hammered, even though you may see some good performances from Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma & Zaheer Khan. Indian bowling in the Tests lacks penetration, and the SA batting line-up will feast on it, and Jacques Kallis (who's not been in the best of touch as of now) will come back into form. The best the Indians can hope for, is to come away safely with a hard-fought drawn Test series.

  • POSTED BY Blade-Runner on | December 4, 2013, 11:28 GMT

    @Harmony111 ; Yes, CT2013 was held in England. But it doesn't mean that the pitches were pacy n bouncy coz it was an ICC event. For the ICC events, the pitches are prepared according to the ICC directives. (The ICC always instruct host board to prepare the pitches with less or no lateral movements.) And we'll know on whose directives the ICC act upon. :) So, the conclusion is CT2013 pitches were as flat as typical indian pitches and Its not ECB's fault coz the ECB acted upon the ICC directives.

  • POSTED BY Bladerunners on | December 4, 2013, 11:06 GMT

    Many ind fans r hopefull that ind could pull up upset in sa!its embarrassing.they want to b succeesfull in a country where their so called greats have failled.to b succeesfull in awayu need to have quallity like srilanka nd aus.

  • POSTED BY Srini_Indian on | December 4, 2013, 10:51 GMT

    India have to do their homework. Only Amla and ABdeV is in form in ODIs. If India manages to nick them out pretty quickly, SA could be in real trouble. I've hardly seen any match winning knock or innings of substance apart from these 2 and to some extent de Kock. The same goes to test as well. Though Smith hit a double century in his last test, with Zaheer looming around, I don't think Smith will survive his 1st spell. With the little bit of luck, India might surprise them. 55-45 to SA in ODIs and 60-40 to SA in tests.

  • POSTED BY Srini_Indian on | December 4, 2013, 10:45 GMT

    You know, most of my fellow Indian fans have no clue. Why so much negativity? If India wins, the track is flat. If the tracks in CT are so flat, why did India bowl out WI, Pakistan, SL and England such cheaply with their so-called "club level bowlers"? SA was blown away by England quicks in SF. Why can't people realize that it is the attempt by others to belittle Indian victories? Don't buy whatever these overseas experts say, think and make comments. Though I agree India is an underdog, the series will be closely contested. Go India!

  • POSTED BY RMCroos on | December 4, 2013, 10:35 GMT

    india will not pass 250 runs an innings in South african wicket in this series!!!!!!

  • POSTED BY humi_cric on | December 4, 2013, 10:20 GMT

    Showers expected tomorrow at johannesburg, just checked the weather forecast, bit upset.

  • POSTED BY on | December 4, 2013, 10:11 GMT

    pace and bounce is notonly a worry for our batting if our bowlers just get into rythm the southaf batsmen also will find things tought to handle which we have seen in the last two tours

  • POSTED BY TheWayCrciketShouldBePlayed on | December 4, 2013, 9:57 GMT

    @Protears , you have summed up very well. Even though Proteas have such an advantage playing on Home pitches which are alien to Indian team, without having settled lineup and except ABD nobody having dynamic batting skills/improvisation that are needed in ODI format, Proteas are lagging behind in ODI format. Hope they get a settled side and get dynamic batsmen in ODIs via new selections or transforming existing batsment technique. They sorely miss a batsman like GIBBS at their top order.

  • POSTED BY on | December 4, 2013, 9:52 GMT

    hopefully the series will be terrific

  • POSTED BY TheWayCrciketShouldBePlayed on | December 4, 2013, 9:45 GMT

    Dear all,

    Can you please stop posting comments on the Series/Matches that may or may not happen? I am saying this because weather forecast is not good for both the venues selected, so fingers crossed whether we can full matches or rain curtailed matches!

  • POSTED BY Titus05 on | December 4, 2013, 9:42 GMT

    This is would be a good series where India will be tested with good pace, hostile crowd and a good team!! All the best team India, Do well and create a precedent for other tougher tours to come!

  • POSTED BY on | December 4, 2013, 9:28 GMT

    syed bhukari@ you shoud be relived after many losses including proteas hammered pak in uae, also to zimbawaye and champions trophy drubling, by the way series not started yet.

  • POSTED BY screamingeagle on | December 4, 2013, 9:25 GMT

    @Peter Jones, speak when Aus start winning in India 'mate' :) And it does speak volumes about SA and Aus abilities when they failed to do anything in CT, on the two paced, shorn of all grass pitches. Right 'mate'?

  • POSTED BY Protears on | December 4, 2013, 9:24 GMT

    With the ODI's up I do think this is a very good marker to test whether we have made any progress in the limited overs format, which I can honestly say we have not had a balanced team in for some many years now. I will say India are definite favourites as they have a power line up that is settled and accustomed to the format. We on the other hand still trying to fit the pieces together. We also know that favourites on paper and playing out the results are different so its a big chance to try win a big series against a strong team.

    De Kock, Amla, Kallis, De Villiers, Duminy, Du Plessis, Miller, McLaren, Phillander, Steyn, Tahir is probably our best option at this time.

  • POSTED BY on | December 4, 2013, 9:09 GMT

    india good at odi's...no dout.......but when we see the test series...it is very big challenge to them.this is the first over seas tour with out sachin,dravid,laxman............and you are lossing side with 8-0; so i hope our young guns will playwell in southAfrica tour..........ALL THE BEST.....

  • POSTED BY Naresh28 on | December 4, 2013, 9:06 GMT

    This is the best time for some of these guys to cement their place in the team. India has plenty of potential players waiting their chance. The likes of Jiwanjot, Uthappa, Juneja, Badrinath - for batting. Bowling Rishi, Pandey, VRV, Pankaj, Jalaj Saxena In Odi's Sampson, Aparajith, Rishi

  • POSTED BY maheshkumar.de on | December 4, 2013, 9:03 GMT

    I have only one thing to say to the extreme fans of both sides. India although with their talent and potential will start as underdogs. SA is a good team but not invincible as recentely shown by pakistan - except - for spark here and there are not really a good overall team despite their bowing being one of the best. India won tests (one on each tour) in SA on both of their last tour so india has the potential to win as well. It will all come to applying oneself on the match day. India of course plays better in subcontinent condition since they are familiar with it but they are not the only one to be better at playing at home. India gives hardly anything at home. When pakistan lost in SA the test series, nobody called them flat track bully because they have been bad in last 10 years both at home and away. On india's last tour, the results were as follow: Test: 1-1. ODis: 3-2 for SA. T20: 1-0 for India. It was an evenly contested series. Hoping for a well fough series again.

  • POSTED BY subnys on | December 4, 2013, 9:01 GMT

    I am an Indian. But I find many Indians with a cynical tone over here. If et all India manages to win the test series, then these very same guys will say 1. SA Tour was short. Wait until India performs in NZ. 2. SA was as it is found wanting against Pak, who are performing in bits and pieces.

    I agree, that when it comes to Test matches, esp in SA, they are the supreme power. But India has always dug out deep when the least was expected out of them. Remember 1983 Wcup, 2007 T20 wcup and the recent CT 2013.

    I don't think these IND batsmen are fighting for places. They're much relaxed compared to their predecessors.

  • POSTED BY on | December 4, 2013, 8:52 GMT

    Waiting to see Zaheer in action ... Zaheer, Bhuvneswar, Shammi & Umesh ... This is the better bowling lineup for India in recent times ... If they fire, then SA will be happy for having just two tests, rather having more tests & lose their top spot in ranking ... I don't want to talk about our young batting guns under Dhoni ... It won't be interesting in reading ... Wait & See Us In Action ...

  • POSTED BY JustIPL on | December 4, 2013, 8:23 GMT

    Indian young guns are carrying momentum and they are focused to perform. So, it will not be that easy to get better of them. Recently, SA bowling struggled little bit in home conditions against Pak. Once, indian batsmen put on good score then bowlers can create pressure. One good SA tour will see indian team confidence sky high into the future.

  • POSTED BY optimiser on | December 4, 2013, 8:23 GMT

    @Greatest_Game, Regarding your comments about rankings and staying at the top for a while, that's the main reason why a cricket match which involved australia in their peak was boring because it was so predictable that they are gonna win even before the match began.Same was the case with west indies in 70's & 80's. Present day Cricket needs the current australian team to beat england in the ashes, sub-continent teams win a test series(or atleast few matches) in Sa, aus & eng to make test cricket more watch worthy and even. And seriously we Indian fans would be the first ones to get bored if our team stays at the top of rankings(in Odi) for so long(65 months is too long now).We want to see getting displaced and fight hard to earn it.

  • POSTED BY jango_moh on | December 4, 2013, 8:17 GMT

    i remember the 140 sachin scored in SA in the last series, and the brilliant spells from steyn he had to counter... it was exhilarating to watch.... i hope there r some equally good sessions, hopefully the young batsman can withstand the onslaught of steyn n company!!! hoping to see an interesting series....

  • POSTED BY JustIPL on | December 4, 2013, 8:15 GMT

    @Yousufahmed1: Its right that england could not chase but it is not IPL but the pressure of World Championship final and that pressure played on the mind of english players. India were lucky that rain helped them secure the cup.

  • POSTED BY Maloog on | December 4, 2013, 7:55 GMT

    India is clever. Loosing a test series 2-0 do not sound to bad. A 3-0 or 4-0 whitewash will be embarrasing. They have always been poor travellers. I hope when South Africa tours India it will also be a similar iternary to theirs. No country is bigger than the game.

  • POSTED BY Harmony111 on | December 4, 2013, 7:50 GMT

    So what if the wickets in CT13 were flat, slow & SC-like? What's wrong in winning on such wickets? Is it a sin?

    Was it India's fault that Eng couldn't make the usual wickets?

    Was it India's fault that the final was more like T20? In any case, what kind of a team fails to chase 130 in 20 overs? - T20 or an old days reduced ODI?

    I must remind SA fans that on the same slow, flat SC like wickets, your team could score ONLY 175 runs in the SF & lost big time to Eng.

    On those same slow, flat SC like wickets, India bowled out Aus for 65 after making 300.

    FACT1 : SA couldn't chase 200+ in UAE & couldn't chase 200+ AT HOME.

    FACT2: India chased 321 in Aus, 344 in Eng, 326 In BD & 350+ In India (TWICE).

    However, I have to admit that SA have the def upper hand in Tests & 2-0 to them won't surprise me. Our batting is quite inexp & at best can only match them talent wise while our bowling is way behind SA. ODIs start sans any acclimatization so can't predict scoreline but Ind should win.

  • POSTED BY PG_ROX on | December 4, 2013, 7:49 GMT

    A good and honest article from Sid...and also eagerly looking forward to the battle between ZAK and SMITH........

  • POSTED BY trueanalyst on | December 4, 2013, 7:45 GMT

    @StephenAxtell, Yes other than Australia we are the second best team who play big matches well. That is why so many trophies to us.Compare this with the eternal chokers SA who choked in the 2nd on day international against PAK . It does not take a genius to figure out India will definitely win the one day series.Hope you and the others who are making fun of India will be there on the final one dayer.

  • POSTED BY AjjarRavi on | December 4, 2013, 7:44 GMT

    India is will play as per their ranking....ODI SA will be no match and tests it will be 45-55 in favour of SA

  • POSTED BY on | December 4, 2013, 7:35 GMT

    In tests I am verymuch interested to see how Pujara and Rohit performes. Both are cool minded. Like to stay at the wicket. Ready to wait for loose ball. In last SA A tour both have scored centuries in 4 day tests. Rohit stayed at wicket for almost 5 hours and over 250 deliveries for his century, which is very important specially in a tough tour like SA. Same goes to Pujara also. He is also cool minded. For tests specially, Virat and Dhavan has to be a bit patient in SA. Experience like Steyn & Kallis will be definately testing the toughness of Indian batting. It is going to be contest between Indian young batting against worlds most tough and experienced attack like Steyn, Phillander and Morkel. Indian batsmen are 100% capable to hadle Steyn & co, but only thing they have to keep in mind, it's a 5 day game and they want to stay at the wicket. All the best to team India.

  • POSTED BY ReverseSweepIndia on | December 4, 2013, 7:33 GMT

    I know this is difficult. I know SA is ranked #1 at the moment and rightly so. But I believe our these young guns can challenge Steyn & Co. Dhawan, Pujara, Rohit, Kohli and Ashwin play short ball very well. Dhoni play short ball well too. Dhoni, Sharma and Vijay are susceptible to chasing balls so will find Philander more difficult to handle. If they can curb this habit, they can score too. Best thing in their favor is they are natural stroke players except Dhoni (who force it) and will find ball coming to bat and ball also travel faster than subcontinent. So adversity aside, they have few positive things out of which they need to make best. On side note, we know we are good in ODI so Dhoni should concentrate more on finding solution for #4 & #6 position through these ODI's. If we fail experimenting in ODI no wonder, what if found a solution for selection headache for 1st test that will be significant baby step to challenge SA

  • POSTED BY LahorePak on | December 4, 2013, 7:30 GMT

    I was realy looking 4ward to this series. and Iam very disappointed 2 see world 2 best teams playing only 2 tests and 3 odi's.

  • POSTED BY trueanalyst on | December 4, 2013, 7:28 GMT

    @Syed Shahzan Haider Bukhari , Please be present on 5th when India plays SouthAfrica and also on the 3rd one day time.We will see who is what.

  • POSTED BY on | December 4, 2013, 7:25 GMT

    Nice article. It is very true that for Sachin's farewell India sacrifices lot things. The tour like SA can't be sufficient with mere 2 tests & 3 ODIs. But out of two tests against WI Rohit Sharma benifited most. 2 centuries in 2 tests. And nobody can say it was in easier conditions. First came after India were struggling 83/5 and second with company of 11 no batsman. Here we should concider mental toughness of our main batting backbone. Dhavan, Vijay, Pujara, Kohli & Rohit. Dhavan and Kohli are most aggressive amongst rest. Both likes to play strokes and attack the bowling. When they keep going, they are brilliant, but if they got blocked somewhere, they might throw their wickets. We often watched both Dhavan and Kohli. In tests against WI Dhavan threw his wicket twice and from CT we saw Virat so many times throwing his wicket. Steyn and co will keep in mind theses small facts definately. Thatswhy possibly we will more success in ODIs than tests for Dhavan & Kohli.

  • POSTED BY sachin_vvsfan on | December 4, 2013, 7:23 GMT

    @Greatest_Game you can write all CAPS stuff but the fact remains that India Won more world cup events than SA(Home or Away) on similar pitches.

    I shall wait for the tour to finish to pass any judgement because the younger generation is more hungry to win and mind you didnt win the last time either against a side that lost 4-0 to Aus and Eng abroad.

  • POSTED BY on | December 4, 2013, 7:15 GMT

    A very good assessment. Everyone is talking about "fast and bouncy" but it's spin that is the archillies heel of the SA batters and it is the bowlers & not the batters that have won matches in recent times. I expect to see India go in with at least 2 spinners and a part timer in the ODI's. They would have watched Pakistan spin a web around the SA batters

  • POSTED BY dunger.bob on | December 4, 2013, 7:10 GMT

    I thought this was a very good article. Down to earth and taking a commendably neutral perspective. This is India's first Test series since the big clean out I believe. There have to be questions about how the new boys are going to handle their very first visit to South Africa in the Test side. What's wrong with talking about it? It's all part of the glorious uncertainty of sport and the reason most of us bother with sport at all. .. It's almost never cut and dried and people like to talk about the possibilities.

    Anyway, this will test them out for sure. I expect Steyn and co to be their usual selves and start working the batting over from ball one. .. it should make for some interesting viewing.

  • POSTED BY rajuramki on | December 4, 2013, 7:07 GMT

    It has never been easy for an Indian team to perform on the South African wickets , mainly because of the extra bounce and seam movement . So ,we should be practical enough to accept that it is no disgrace for India even if they loose the test series 2-0. After all , it is a brand new test team , lacking in experience but not short of abilities . The team members are quietly confident , which augurs well for the team . You can certainly expect a couple of good performance from team India . And finally , if Dhoni's men are able to beat SA on their own soil , it is something that no Indian team of the past has achieved . With nothing to loose and a lot to gain, India should play their normal cricket . Best of luck to the Indian team .

  • POSTED BY on | December 4, 2013, 7:04 GMT

    When I read these comments, I realize why everybody supports the team playing against India.

  • POSTED BY heavy_cav_1066 on | December 4, 2013, 7:03 GMT

    in my opinion, on balance india are slightly the favourites to win the one day series. however, this relatively inexperienced team definitely won't have it easy in the tests.. the south african batting is solid with proven performers like smith, amla, kallis and de villiers. they also have excellent pace bowlers in steyn, morkel and philander. none the less, it will be a good learning experience for the indians regardless of the results.. hopefully our young pace bowlers like bhuvneshwar, shami and umesh will benefit immensely.

  • POSTED BY Gupta.Ankur on | December 4, 2013, 6:56 GMT

    I am surprised why so much is being made of india's supposedly "whistle-stop" tour when last two SA vs Aus tours were two test affair.

    India is by far the best odi outfit in the world and one of the best of all time and this unit has ably proved itself by winning in england and west-indies quite easily.

    India is firm favourite for the odi series and i expect them to win quite comfortably.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | December 4, 2013, 6:54 GMT

    most of the cricket pundits are underestimating India, well, the battle starts in 2 days. and why these pundits underestimating india's fast bowling. It will be tough for SA as well. my money is in india for one dayers. Test matches would be more interesting. the team who will win first session will win the test series.

  • POSTED BY rahulStillHeaded on | December 4, 2013, 6:45 GMT

    Please stop spreading the negativity !! What is it with you guys ?? It is international cricket and no matter where you play, it is always difficult.

    What the heck is a flat pitch ?? Indian pitches are probably the most difficult in tests. If you see any test matches in Australia, you would realize how good they are for batting.

    Just because the commentators say so, don't believe them. Watch a match side-by-side and draw your own conclusions.

    Have some self-esteem Indians.

  • POSTED BY Hindh on | December 4, 2013, 6:40 GMT

    @sandy A question to you, why no other team in world beats India on the so called dry pitches of England?? Because India outperformed them in batting,bowling and fielding like tigers in that series.. So they won it. Is it so hard for u accept it?? Meanwhile SA will be disappointed if it is anything less than 2-0 win , so pressure is on them now...

  • POSTED BY Rupkumar on | December 4, 2013, 6:39 GMT

    @Sandy_bangalore I agree with you. i really dont understand why our indian fans take things personally and emotionally. when did we last win a test series in overseas? ( i believe 2007 enland series if we leave out the WI tour). we have never been good travellers in the past.Adding to that now we have the giants retired from the game.i am just keen to see how these cricketers that were playing like legends in indian flat pitches would play in SA. if they prove that they can play in SA as well scoring centuries then it is a great thing for india.

  • POSTED BY AB_DeVilliers on | December 4, 2013, 6:37 GMT

    If you read this article with no bias as neutral, it accurately puts into perspective what this tour means for India. This is not a negative article, but more a realistic view of where team India is at the moment - excellent in ODIs and hence will pose a challenge, but largely untested away from home in tests so SA are favorites; you can't argue with that assessment. Sid has a unique ability to look at the bigger picture and this is an excellent article. Also, for some commenting about him not praising India - it's hard to praise a team before a ball is bowled, but I can assure you that if team India does well, Sid will capture it accurately. Always enjoy his pieces. Can't wait for the action to start, go SA!

  • POSTED BY Samdanh on | December 4, 2013, 6:36 GMT

    Aided by its Board India have done well to cut down the Tests to 2. Expect India bowlers, especially the fastmen to do better in SA. Will be suprised if India's young batting brigade does well

  • POSTED BY IndianSRTfan on | December 4, 2013, 6:33 GMT

    @Greatest_Game says."It seems as if........it is not easy". So? Why is it so difficult to swallow when most of Indian fans mention India's #1 ODI ranking"? Why wouldn't we? We are ranked number one in ODIs aren't we? We are still the World Champions aren't we? We have won the Champions trophy in England haven't we? Don't the SA fans, including your esteemed self, take every opportunity to remind us that they are "the best team in the world", even though they are only the best test team and an ordinary ODI side?

    Here's another interesting perspective for you. India has won ODI world cup and Champions trophy twice (once shared), and T20 world cup once. That's five trophies on world stage. How many World Cups and world trophies, despite their "unbroken run at the top" or whatever, have SA and ENG have won?

    It is not all that big a deal achieving rating points. It is winning trophies on world stage UNDER PRESSURE that counts. Don't count on it either - it is not easy, many teams choke.

  • POSTED BY borninthetimeofSRT on | December 4, 2013, 6:32 GMT

    I am sure that the game has changed a lot over the years, even the players and the expectations from them, the rules have changed, and so has the audience. But it is very unfortunate to see that those who were expected to evolve through their sharp minds in analyzing the game have not done their job. The critics with their insights on the game still believe that playing at home gives an advantage to the home team. Since the downfall of the mighty Aussies, we have seen that there are a very few teams in the world who have comfortably won (if) on home soil. Indian conditions were challenging during Border's era, but not anymore with international players getting used to the weather and pitches in India - thanks to IPL- they even know Hindi now. But India has done well at home only because its new team is doing more than expected, they are a team to watch out in the years to come. So, dear cricket experts, get your facts right and acknowledge India's home performance, They deserve it.

  • POSTED BY xylo on | December 4, 2013, 6:08 GMT

    ooooh.... Sidharth Monga says " In a way Tendulkar has not done India many favours by playing all the home Tests and then retiring before this tour. " ?? Finally, someone in cricinfo let the cat out of the bag!! Bravo!!

  • POSTED BY Yousufahmed1 on | December 4, 2013, 6:03 GMT

    @ sandy_bangalore I don't what you people are talking about. I have a simple question. If the pitches were so flat with no assistance then how come SL and PAK folded for less than 200. How come SL was thrashed by NZ and were dismissed for 130 odd on flat pitches. How come in the final India could only score 129 and ENG couldn't even able to chase that on that dry and easy for batting pitch. I don't know its lack of cricket knowledge or just blind hate against India that makes people like you comment like this.

  • POSTED BY GRVJPR on | December 4, 2013, 6:02 GMT

    I said in my earlier comment that cricket analysis is reaching all time low in India. The main reason for this is the inability of analysts to differentiate between ODI tracks and test match tracks. We have seen that 4 matches vs australia and 2 against west indies got over in 3 and half days. Same teams (especially ausssie) were piling runs in ODI matches. The test match in India is very difficult. The ball turns from day 1 whic doesn;t happen anywhere. Then the ball keeps reverse swinging coupled with uneven bounce from day 1 itself. Then the dust and cracks appear on pitches and that makes ball to jump of the length with variable bounce. In foreign conditions the ball only swings on first day and then it keeps on getting flat and flat and flat.

  • POSTED BY Jollybuoy on | December 4, 2013, 5:46 GMT

    @Sandy_bangalore Do you even watch cricket? Watch the WI tour and how Rohit batted there. Just because he scored runs against australia on flat tracks doesn't mean he is flat track bully. Test runs are never easy, even the flattest of tracks and the 2 in WI series weren't flat tracks. His domestic record is excellent and he has few good knocks on bouncy and seaming tracks. It's now a question of consistency.

  • POSTED BY GRVJPR on | December 4, 2013, 5:41 GMT

    @ sandy_bangalore, I find you extremely negative men and low in confidence, so much so that you can't recognize the Indian team astounding success in all formats.

  • POSTED BY GRVJPR on | December 4, 2013, 5:36 GMT

    Unforyunately some authors think that if you write a negative article against India it will sell more. Also that you will be an instant hero among non-indians. The way India as a cricket team is presented in this article it saddens me that cricket analysis in India is reaching new lows. Mr. SID - I hope you have guts to come out and praise this team after the tour, although I know you will find more negativity from somewhere.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | December 4, 2013, 5:28 GMT

    india will maybe do well in the one dayers. but test they will easily lose the series. 2-0.

  • POSTED BY sandy_bangalore on | December 4, 2013, 5:22 GMT

    I find it extremely amusing that our Indian supporters think that this team can perform in challenging conditions, and the fact they point to the Champions trophy triumph as proof. This years edition was played in dry conditions(which HB pointed out in an article), with hardly any assistance for the seam bowlers, and India predictable flowered. Even the final victory was in a glorified t20 match. The likes of Raina and Yuvraj and Sharma, much celebrated by media and fans, and are recognised as 'heroes' are kings when it comes to flat pitches, but when faced with challenging conditions, are found wanting both technically and mentally. Shikhar Dhawan is untested as well. Only Kohli looks to have the technique needed, along with the strokes. Its one thing playing mckay, sammy,gabriel, faulkner at Indore and gwalior and nagpur, and another thing to play the SA quicks in their backyard.

  • POSTED BY Lodhisingh on | December 4, 2013, 5:19 GMT

    @sray23, not sure if Yuvi and raina are part of the test team? and I dont see anyone even mentioning raina and yuvi for success in test teams. infact i dont see anyone mentioning them in the success of the ODI team in the recent past too.

  • POSTED BY on | December 4, 2013, 5:10 GMT

    Watch out haters, our young kids may surprise SA. Win or lose, doesnt matter...go hard play well boys! All the best!

  • POSTED BY Greatest_Game on | December 4, 2013, 4:38 GMT

    It seems as if almost every Indian poster feels that they HAVE to mention India's #1 ODI ranking. To put things in perspective, here is the the summary of #1 teams since 1981 till present, by cumulative whole month periods: Australia - 163 months, highest rating 140. West Indies, 99 months, highest rating 141. South Africa, 59 months, highest rating 134. England, 31 months, highest rating 135. India, 18 months, highest rating 127. Pakistan, 3 months, highest rating 131.

    India has been #1 three times, with the LOWEST RATING of all #1 teams. SA were #1 five times, with an unbroken run of 46 months. India's longest is their current 10 months.

    India needs another 41 months and (currently) another 12 rating points to equal South Africa's record, & will have to be #1 for 3 MORE years to equal SA's run as #1 ODI team.

    It is not all that big a deal reaching #1. It is staying there that counts! Don't count on it either - it is not easy. WI longest was 65 months. Aus' longest was 59 months.

  • POSTED BY Cpt.Meanster on | December 4, 2013, 4:14 GMT

    Dear Sid, I sincerely disagree with most of your statements. First of all, this is NOT an insignificant tour. Secondly, India are in SA to WIN and not settle for anything less. Third, India are not no.1 in ODIs without a good reason. They have the BEST batting line up in the world. Even with a limited bowling unit, India are better than the rest by miles. They have won almost everything this year when it comes to ODI format and some of those wins came overseas in England, Caribbean and Zimbabwe. Lastly, you overestimate a South African team that is NOT on form now. Their batting line up is unsettled, their bowling other than Steyn and Morkel looks below par and unsure. Their batting relies ALOT on Amla, AB De Villiers and Smith. Kallis is past his prime and their lower order is not that good. They also don't have a quality spinner to round things off. The ONLY thing in favour of SA is home advantage in that they will be playing on familiar pitches. This should be a close series.

  • POSTED BY Cpt.Meanster on | December 4, 2013, 4:07 GMT

    I don't think this tour is insignificant by any means. In fact, this is a much needed tour for India after a brief tenure at home where they dominated. SA are a good team and worthy opponents. This young Indian team will only get better if they keep playing against quality opposition. I certainly feel India will do well on this tour in all the 3 formats. They are definitely working hard at their game and this was evident from their A tours to SA and Zimbabwe earlier this year. India are finally taking foreign tours seriously in that they try to send touring parties overseas a lot more now than they did say 3 years ago. I wish this team the very best. Let the haters keep hating, we believe in our young warriors. God bless team India.

  • POSTED BY bowledwarnie on | December 4, 2013, 3:55 GMT

    The fact that the ODI's are played before the tests will assist India in settling into SA conditions. However, as a test side they are not in SA's class. SA's bowling attack in local conditions will test India to the full. With all the rain around at this time of year it will create seaming conditions ideal for Big Vern and Steyn's late outswing at 145km/h. 2-0, to SA, both tests done within 5 days...

  • POSTED BY Greatest_Game on | December 4, 2013, 3:46 GMT

    @ Nampally thinks that "India had already won the World ODI title in England on bouncy green pitches."

    Those pitches were shorn of all grass, and anything but green or bouncy. Just because the CT was in Eng does not mean the tracks were EVER green or bouncy. They were dry, flat, and nothing like India will find in SA.

  • POSTED BY sray23 on | December 4, 2013, 2:54 GMT

    Indian cricket fans are in for a shock. Those gushing at our heroes Raina, Yuvraj, Rohit, etc, we just need to see the recent away performances against top teams. In Tests, 8-0 overseas and ODIs failure to make the tri-series final against Aus. If the CT trophy final in Eng was a full 50-over game England probably would have won. Raina and Yuvraj still cannot bat on fast bouncy pitches in Eng, Aus, SA. Both complete damp squibs in 2011 in Aus. To be successful overseas you need a blend of youth & experience, good preparation & a long tour (3-4 tests) so that if players lose form they have time to work on it & improve. The A tours have given some preparation but the team is too inexperienced and if they lose form they cannot learn & recover as it is such a short tour. In both these areas they have been undone by BCCI & selectors. In Eng & Aus 2011, they should have dropped a few seniors but didn't. This tour, BCCI has shortened the tour. Prepare for the worst I think.

  • POSTED BY on | December 4, 2013, 2:34 GMT

    Sid, I am usually a fan of your writing, but I am disappointed with the low expectations this article sets for Team India. Yes, this team is going through a transition and the bowling/batting line up has little experience in overseas test matches, and SA is very tough team to beat especially at home. But, we are talking about a new generation of India here, who are confident and have set high standards for themselves. It would be a mistake for any Indian fan to expect anything less than a victory in any match India plays... especially a team which has given so much hope... Please don't lower the expectations for TEAM INDIA... if any they deserve the higher expectations and respect

  • POSTED BY Lodhisingh on | December 4, 2013, 2:30 GMT

    Hmm you say you are not sure how much help facing Sammy and co would have done and at the same time say that the youngsters would have gained from playing at home had Sachin retired earlier? Not sure if you got this analysis right. Again, playing 7 ODIS is a proper tour when every past player and commentator goes on and on about the meaningless bi lateral ODI series being played.

  • POSTED BY Kirk_Levin on | December 4, 2013, 1:03 GMT

    Nampally. Your comment clearly shows, how inept many Indian fans are i reakon. Firstly, the pitches in UK weren't green, bouncy with visible seam movement mate. It was slow and somewhat two paced. India still has lot to answer for when it comes to playing overseas, as they lost two series back to back, in Aussie and England. Their win ratio overseas is very poor, as they have shown, they still struggle with pace, bounce and swing movement. The grounds in India are small, flat and perfect for batting. When India wins and does well in Aussie etc, than speak mate.

  • POSTED BY Dashgar on | December 4, 2013, 0:45 GMT

    So sad India have forfeited so many matches on this tour. This was going to be a true clash of giants. Worthy of five tests let alone 3.

  • POSTED BY InsideHedge on | December 4, 2013, 0:23 GMT

    "Sammy and friends" is an apt description for the current WI bowling line up. In all the Sachin farewell emotions, I wanted to believe that WI are not that bad but their 1st day effort in NZ has sent some shivers down my spine in regards to what we can expect in South Africa.

    I like to think of myself as an optimist but I'll take Sid's deliberate low expectations. Then, anything better than 0-2 for India will feel good. I was pleasantly surprised by our ICC Champions Trophy win in England, I never expected it and certainly not in such dominating fashion, in no small part to good bowling to aid our unquestionably talented batting.

    It's going to be tough in SA but most of our players have been out there before in some capacity, either on the recent A tour or even an IPL season and/or Champions League matches, that will give them some familiarity. I also believe Duncan Fletcher has a big role to play in this series.

  • POSTED BY on | December 3, 2013, 22:37 GMT

    Napally and viru, while I appreciate that the prediction the one-dayers may be odd considering South Africa's inconsistency and India's excellence in the format, the Test prediction is spot-on.

    South Africa are the dominant force in World Cricket, playing in home conditions, against an untested Indian team. Anything less than a series whitewash would be a good result for India.

  • POSTED BY DaGameChanger on | December 3, 2013, 22:16 GMT

    Comeon, Sid are you from late 80s or early 90s or what..You look pretty squeamish character to me especially for 21st century Indian.

  • POSTED BY BigINDFan on | December 3, 2013, 21:52 GMT

    I suppose Sid is making SA boost their confidence or worried about what happens if Ind loses. So it is true that the bouncy pitches will pose a stern test to Kohli, Vijay and possibly Rohit. But of these three Vijay is the suspect since he edges to the slips a lot early on. Pujara is key in this tour as he can steady and guide the batting. Or Dhawan can go crazy and score a double century and take the game away. It wont be easy it will be tough but not impossible.

    ODIs are open with Ind the favorites. Simple reason is SA is used to bowling to Team Misbah but now they have to bowl to an actual team.

  • POSTED BY rhtkumar672 on | December 3, 2013, 21:33 GMT

    I sincerely hope its only the reporters who think like this ( losing 2-0 in tests and an open one day series ) and not the players. Indian team should aim to win both tests and ODI series, otherwise it would be battle lost even before it is started.

  • POSTED BY abhinavpraneet on | December 3, 2013, 21:23 GMT

    Sid, Gotta agree with other commentators when they say that you seem to be undermining this team's ability and drive, more than anything else. Our Fab Five of earlier generation were no doubt brilliant cricketers, but the aggression and passion this current crop brings, along with their brilliance, differentiates them from previous teams. Add to it the current form and habit of winning, the conditions in SA should be secondary to the drive to win it at all costs.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | December 3, 2013, 20:35 GMT

    test might be different but in odis this series is there for india to grab with both hands. they are no1 in rankings but also in form. almost all batsmen are performing and full with confidence. where as SA are mot that consistant recently. they won uae series vs pakistan but they had their weakest moments there. any strong team would not have let go chances pak got. SA batting doesnt look in great form and in bowling they are good.

    i think in odis india is fav to win . and like dhoni said playing odis before test will also help.

  • POSTED BY US_Indian on | December 3, 2013, 20:20 GMT

    " In a way Tendulkar has not done India many favors by playing all the home Tests and then retiring before this tour. Those were matches a youngster could have used to gain experience before a year full of overseas assignments.". Sid- you have rightly paraphrased SRT's mindset and selfishness. This is what he is and 1bn plus people who have been blinded by their love towards him will not agree with you and me who love him never the less but who are critical analyst for whom the love of the nation and its pride takes prominence than love for any individual. He has done this all through his career except maybe the initial 6/7 years. He never stepped forward when India needed him like he never agreed to open in tests or move down the order where as he agreed to open in ODI's because the lure for opening in ODI's is the chances for getting much time and overs in the middle and the field restrictions, less overs to face from good bowlers and more chances to score centuries which he got.

  • POSTED BY IndCricFan2013 on | December 3, 2013, 19:56 GMT

    Absolutely! South Africa tour still vital yardstick!! After boring ODI's in India, it is a welcome change. For Dhawan, Vijay and Rohit, it is a make or break tour. Dhoni's captaincy will be talked more than it will be tested. He need few good scores and wins outside subcontinent. Pujara and Kohli are likely to survive beyond the 2 test tour. It is time for Ashwin to fill the gap between why Graeme Swann is in the ICC Test X1 and he is the 12th man. Pace bowlers have everything to gain and make a good impression. Will Jadeja or Rahane who is going to make #7 or #6. If Jadeja can score so many 300's, then it is time he proves his mettle in test matches. ODI is a good warm up for tests.

  • POSTED BY on | December 3, 2013, 19:54 GMT

    Yeah...we have to agree with the Sidharth Monga that 2-0 defeat is waiting for India in tests. But I feel in ODI and T20 also SA will thrash India by 5-0 and 2-0 respectively . I can't see Steyn and Co. will feel any kind of difficulty in getting out cheaply these flat track bullies!!!All Indian batsmen can ONLY score on slow and dead pitches!!! Pakistan became the first Asian team to knocked down SA in ODI series!!! Well done Pak, U are the winner!!!

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | December 3, 2013, 19:39 GMT

    Sid, Your conclusions do not reflect or do justice to India's #1 ODI ranking in the World. You say the ODI series is open- i.e., up for grabs? You also conclude by stating that in Test any result better than 2-0 defeat for India is exceeding the expectations? India had already won the World ODI title in England on bouncy green pitches+ have 5 consecutive ODI series wins prior to this tour. Ranked #1 in the world ODI record, I would expect an Indian series win in the ODI's. That is also the expectation of the most Fans, world wide. Media has over hyped the SA "Bouncy" pitches. Secondly in the Test series I expect India to at least tie the series. This team is superior to the one that toured England due to the fact it has no "deadwood or unfit players". A team whose batting has the top 4 batsmen who are capable of getting centuries cannot falter suddenly due to SA pitches. I am sorry but I disagree with your conclusions. This determined & talented team will achieve much better results!

  • POSTED BY viru-319-219 on | December 3, 2013, 19:06 GMT

    "but in the Tests you'd venture India will take anything better than a 2-0 defeat to a fully fit South African side, provided it doesn't come through weather interruptions" - Seriously .. Did you ever see the expression on Kohli's face when he gets out even after scoring 100, Did you Know Rohit has just announced himself into International cricket and he was a success on his first tour to AUS, Did you see the proud and confidence in TEAM INDIA when they win and if you have known and seen all these how can you say those words. Indian team under Sourav transitioned from looking for draws to looking to win and this generation has learnt a lot from that team. TEAM INDIA now accepts nothing less than a win and India will not take anything less than WIN.

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  • POSTED BY viru-319-219 on | December 3, 2013, 19:06 GMT

    "but in the Tests you'd venture India will take anything better than a 2-0 defeat to a fully fit South African side, provided it doesn't come through weather interruptions" - Seriously .. Did you ever see the expression on Kohli's face when he gets out even after scoring 100, Did you Know Rohit has just announced himself into International cricket and he was a success on his first tour to AUS, Did you see the proud and confidence in TEAM INDIA when they win and if you have known and seen all these how can you say those words. Indian team under Sourav transitioned from looking for draws to looking to win and this generation has learnt a lot from that team. TEAM INDIA now accepts nothing less than a win and India will not take anything less than WIN.

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | December 3, 2013, 19:39 GMT

    Sid, Your conclusions do not reflect or do justice to India's #1 ODI ranking in the World. You say the ODI series is open- i.e., up for grabs? You also conclude by stating that in Test any result better than 2-0 defeat for India is exceeding the expectations? India had already won the World ODI title in England on bouncy green pitches+ have 5 consecutive ODI series wins prior to this tour. Ranked #1 in the world ODI record, I would expect an Indian series win in the ODI's. That is also the expectation of the most Fans, world wide. Media has over hyped the SA "Bouncy" pitches. Secondly in the Test series I expect India to at least tie the series. This team is superior to the one that toured England due to the fact it has no "deadwood or unfit players". A team whose batting has the top 4 batsmen who are capable of getting centuries cannot falter suddenly due to SA pitches. I am sorry but I disagree with your conclusions. This determined & talented team will achieve much better results!

  • POSTED BY on | December 3, 2013, 19:54 GMT

    Yeah...we have to agree with the Sidharth Monga that 2-0 defeat is waiting for India in tests. But I feel in ODI and T20 also SA will thrash India by 5-0 and 2-0 respectively . I can't see Steyn and Co. will feel any kind of difficulty in getting out cheaply these flat track bullies!!!All Indian batsmen can ONLY score on slow and dead pitches!!! Pakistan became the first Asian team to knocked down SA in ODI series!!! Well done Pak, U are the winner!!!

  • POSTED BY IndCricFan2013 on | December 3, 2013, 19:56 GMT

    Absolutely! South Africa tour still vital yardstick!! After boring ODI's in India, it is a welcome change. For Dhawan, Vijay and Rohit, it is a make or break tour. Dhoni's captaincy will be talked more than it will be tested. He need few good scores and wins outside subcontinent. Pujara and Kohli are likely to survive beyond the 2 test tour. It is time for Ashwin to fill the gap between why Graeme Swann is in the ICC Test X1 and he is the 12th man. Pace bowlers have everything to gain and make a good impression. Will Jadeja or Rahane who is going to make #7 or #6. If Jadeja can score so many 300's, then it is time he proves his mettle in test matches. ODI is a good warm up for tests.

  • POSTED BY US_Indian on | December 3, 2013, 20:20 GMT

    " In a way Tendulkar has not done India many favors by playing all the home Tests and then retiring before this tour. Those were matches a youngster could have used to gain experience before a year full of overseas assignments.". Sid- you have rightly paraphrased SRT's mindset and selfishness. This is what he is and 1bn plus people who have been blinded by their love towards him will not agree with you and me who love him never the less but who are critical analyst for whom the love of the nation and its pride takes prominence than love for any individual. He has done this all through his career except maybe the initial 6/7 years. He never stepped forward when India needed him like he never agreed to open in tests or move down the order where as he agreed to open in ODI's because the lure for opening in ODI's is the chances for getting much time and overs in the middle and the field restrictions, less overs to face from good bowlers and more chances to score centuries which he got.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | December 3, 2013, 20:35 GMT

    test might be different but in odis this series is there for india to grab with both hands. they are no1 in rankings but also in form. almost all batsmen are performing and full with confidence. where as SA are mot that consistant recently. they won uae series vs pakistan but they had their weakest moments there. any strong team would not have let go chances pak got. SA batting doesnt look in great form and in bowling they are good.

    i think in odis india is fav to win . and like dhoni said playing odis before test will also help.

  • POSTED BY abhinavpraneet on | December 3, 2013, 21:23 GMT

    Sid, Gotta agree with other commentators when they say that you seem to be undermining this team's ability and drive, more than anything else. Our Fab Five of earlier generation were no doubt brilliant cricketers, but the aggression and passion this current crop brings, along with their brilliance, differentiates them from previous teams. Add to it the current form and habit of winning, the conditions in SA should be secondary to the drive to win it at all costs.

  • POSTED BY rhtkumar672 on | December 3, 2013, 21:33 GMT

    I sincerely hope its only the reporters who think like this ( losing 2-0 in tests and an open one day series ) and not the players. Indian team should aim to win both tests and ODI series, otherwise it would be battle lost even before it is started.

  • POSTED BY BigINDFan on | December 3, 2013, 21:52 GMT

    I suppose Sid is making SA boost their confidence or worried about what happens if Ind loses. So it is true that the bouncy pitches will pose a stern test to Kohli, Vijay and possibly Rohit. But of these three Vijay is the suspect since he edges to the slips a lot early on. Pujara is key in this tour as he can steady and guide the batting. Or Dhawan can go crazy and score a double century and take the game away. It wont be easy it will be tough but not impossible.

    ODIs are open with Ind the favorites. Simple reason is SA is used to bowling to Team Misbah but now they have to bowl to an actual team.

  • POSTED BY DaGameChanger on | December 3, 2013, 22:16 GMT

    Comeon, Sid are you from late 80s or early 90s or what..You look pretty squeamish character to me especially for 21st century Indian.