India in South Africa 2013-14 December 6, 2013

India's bowlers struggle to adapt

If India can change their bowling philosophy during a watertight tour and deliver the results, it will be an incredible achievement. Otherwise we will be back to expecting the batsmen to clean up
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Towards the end of South Africa's training session a day before the Johannesburg ODI, coach Russell Domingo asked a few volunteers to go deep into the outdoor practice facility at the Wanderers. "JP [Duminy] is going to hit long balls. We'll need somebody to retrieve them," he said. This was a pretty simple exercise. Domingo was giving Duminy throwdowns. He gave Duminy straight length balls at an average pace, Duminy opened up his front leg, and swung through the line of them. And he actually hit them long. This was all about getting the swing right, it seemed. So all he wanted was those straight length balls without much menace. It turned out to be the perfect replication of what Duminy would face from the India bowlers out in the middle come match day.

Even before India reached the stage where Duminy and AB de Villiers hit them at will, taking 100 runs in the last six overs, their bowlers had ceded the advantage of winning the toss when the pitch was green and dew was expected later in the evening. To say that the poor bowling and the consequent high total made the Indian batting look worse than they might be might sound a bit harsh on the bowlers playing their first internationals in South Africa, without any practice games, with little preparation time, but it is clear that the bigger bridge between the two sides is their bowling and not the batting. India's home success over the last year has been built on the slowness of the pitches, and their bowlers have it all to do when the bounce is true and the ball comes on.

The opening bowlers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohit Sharma bowled a bit like R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha did during the home series against England last year: put the ball there, and expect the conditions to do the rest. When the half-volleys were put away, they overcompensated, and at their pace were easy to put away for runs. Mohit did make a good comeback when he produced chances from both the South African openers in one over, but that over proved to be an exception. Once the new balls had been wasted, Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja were worked away easily, and the final statement from de Villiers and Duminy was emphatic.

For years the great Indian batting line-up compensated for an ordinary bowling attack, and drew all the flak when they couldn't. Now, with both departments almost starting afresh, might be time the expectations were more even. The likes of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan will be criticised much more than the bowlers because they have raised the expectations with exceptional numbers in the home season.

Thanks to them, India got away with conceding 300 nearly every time at home, but they cannot afford to go for 300 on pitches that have assistance for the quicks. "Overall it was a bad performance," said the captain MS Dhoni, not mincing words. "It started with the bowlers initially. This was not really a 350-plus wicket. We didn't start well. We were supposed to bowl it up, and the wicket would have done the rest. We didn't get the kind of start that was needed. At the same time we should have backed it up with some good batting, but we weren't able to do it."

By the time South African got hold of the two new balls, they got it to seam, swing, bounce and whiz through. Dhoni might have preferred pitching it up and expecting the pitch to do the rest because the Indian bowlers don't have the pace to bowl short, but Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel were not just putting it there, they were forcing out all the assistance from the pitch. That combined with the high total left the batsmen a difficult choice between either letting the asking rate go too high or playing low-percentage shots.

"They know the conditions better than us," Dhoni said. "They know what lengths to bowl. That is one of the reasons why I want our bowlers to step up, so that you don't give away 300 runs. That puts pressure on the batsmen, because they have to go after the bowling right from the first ball, which was not easy on this wicket against bowlers like Dale Steyn. If you see how he bowled to Rohit, he didn't move away from the good areas."

Dhoni and coach Duncan Fletcher are big fans of good areas and performing within the limitations, but the answer might not lie just in the good areas. Mohammed Shami clearly hit the pitch harder than the opening bowlers, and he produced better results. South African conditions are difficult for batting, but they are not quite as overcast as England or New Zealand where the ball can do things by itself. You have to coax it out of the surfaces, otherwise the quick and small outfields can be quite unforgiving.

If India can change their bowling philosophy during a watertight tour and deliver the results, it will be an incredible achievement. Otherwise we will be back to expecting the batsmen to clean up after the bowlers.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on December 7, 2013, 10:58 GMT

    The article hits the nail on its head. A good bowling unit like SA looked even more threatening defending such a huge score. And Indian batting looked worse because they had to take their chances, hit at balls that were probably meant to be left alone, see off Steyn without losing much, etc. etc. Scores of 350+ cannot be chased by leaving balls outside the off stump! Also if the Indian fast bowling has meat, then SA would desist creating fast wickets. Can you imagine SA dishing out similar fast wickets to AUS with Mitchell Johnson in a ravaging form?

  • on December 8, 2013, 13:12 GMT

    why zak is not in team india in onday ???? Ishant again why bcci why???

  • on December 8, 2013, 4:36 GMT

    There is no point blaming BCCI for the rut. MSD as a captain has to put his foot down and say i need good fast bowlers and I am sure there are many prospects in the domestic circuit and at MRF pace foundation. But instead he relies too much on batting and feels that his team can chase any totals. Not sure hwy Mohit sharma was selected in the first place, What happened to Dinda. Where is Varun Aron? Why does Dhoni keep persisting with Ishanth.

  • Nampally on December 8, 2013, 0:31 GMT

    @Vilander: Your suggestion for changes to XI for ODI #2 are right on. Why Dhoni kept Shami from opening the bowling in the first ODI is No brainer!. Yadev & shami need to open the bowling. India has to capture early wkts. with the new ball in the first 8 overs, to restrict the total. Yuvraj's days of facing fast bowlers are over. The OZ ODI series proved it convincingly. Pujara who was with the team in Johannesburg is the ideal replacement for Yuvi. But MSD has been strongly opposed to Pujara in ODI's. Hopefully he will get Rahane or Rayudu in. Playing yuvraj is like batting with 10. Personally I would have identical Test batting line up for top 5 even for ODI's. Does India need 2 spinners in SA or 4 seamers? Dhoni has fixed plans & goes with them rightly or wrongly irrespective of the conditions. They may work in India but on overseas trips they are disasterous! He needs someone else picking the best XI for him. Time for talking is over - India needs to walk the talk now!

  • Chris_P on December 7, 2013, 22:55 GMT

    I have seen a couple of promising Indian pace bowlers but seriously as long as the Indian authorities give their bowlers flat pitches that make them do back breaking work, no quick bowler will prosper. Where is the incentive for Indian quick bowlers to develop? How is this good for Indian cricket when they don't allow their quicks to develop like those from other countries? I feel for Umesh, who showed great promise when he toured here last time. He has had to bowl on flat pitches with no help at all. As long as this continues, the void of pace will forever linger IMHO.

  • sixesandfours on December 7, 2013, 21:42 GMT

    Lovely to have Yadav Ishant and Shami bowling 140k+ and as SA commentators mentioning let things happen with fast bowling with bowling right lengths rather than bowling with experiments that India did with BKumar and MSharma. Let the ball talk by Indian pace trio Y I S. All the best India team and God bless you India!!!!

  • Dhanno on December 7, 2013, 21:27 GMT

    @anurag and Harmony. Are you kidding yourself ? SA has prepared similar wickets and lost to India (in tests), AUs (in tests) and I suppose recently against Pak in ODI. In meantime they were even outdone by SL fast bowlers once at home all due to preparing true SA wickets. So please keep this commenting away. Its similar to india lost toEngland, everyone complained about English condtions. remember what happened when england toured india ??

  • Vilander on December 7, 2013, 19:37 GMT

    Two catches dropped two runouts poor opening bowling , no yadav. Make these errors go away Dhoni, there is chance to win the next two games just take it.

  • Vilander on December 7, 2013, 19:35 GMT

    Get Umesh in not Ishant Ishant will spray it short outside off and get carded all around, Bhuvnesh if he can get his line and length corrected for bouncy SA surfaces should play ahead of Mohit and Ishant. But Yadav has to play, and open with Shami. And please let Yuvi sit out for Rahane ( but wont happen bloody Steyn took care of that by stating his name and now Dhoni wont drop him to give Yuvi a chance at Steyn- but the whole world knows who will win that bout in SA). Rayudu might be a better bet that Jadeja, Ashwin cant be dropped as he is probably our best batsman in middle order after Dhoni.

  • Monif on December 7, 2013, 18:10 GMT

    Harmony_not_Discord, Are you joking, It was always Imran, Botham, Kapil and Hadlee. You missed Botham man. And Hadlee was not an Allrounder, he was best bowler among them. Imran was best as a leader.

  • on December 7, 2013, 10:58 GMT

    The article hits the nail on its head. A good bowling unit like SA looked even more threatening defending such a huge score. And Indian batting looked worse because they had to take their chances, hit at balls that were probably meant to be left alone, see off Steyn without losing much, etc. etc. Scores of 350+ cannot be chased by leaving balls outside the off stump! Also if the Indian fast bowling has meat, then SA would desist creating fast wickets. Can you imagine SA dishing out similar fast wickets to AUS with Mitchell Johnson in a ravaging form?

  • on December 8, 2013, 13:12 GMT

    why zak is not in team india in onday ???? Ishant again why bcci why???

  • on December 8, 2013, 4:36 GMT

    There is no point blaming BCCI for the rut. MSD as a captain has to put his foot down and say i need good fast bowlers and I am sure there are many prospects in the domestic circuit and at MRF pace foundation. But instead he relies too much on batting and feels that his team can chase any totals. Not sure hwy Mohit sharma was selected in the first place, What happened to Dinda. Where is Varun Aron? Why does Dhoni keep persisting with Ishanth.

  • Nampally on December 8, 2013, 0:31 GMT

    @Vilander: Your suggestion for changes to XI for ODI #2 are right on. Why Dhoni kept Shami from opening the bowling in the first ODI is No brainer!. Yadev & shami need to open the bowling. India has to capture early wkts. with the new ball in the first 8 overs, to restrict the total. Yuvraj's days of facing fast bowlers are over. The OZ ODI series proved it convincingly. Pujara who was with the team in Johannesburg is the ideal replacement for Yuvi. But MSD has been strongly opposed to Pujara in ODI's. Hopefully he will get Rahane or Rayudu in. Playing yuvraj is like batting with 10. Personally I would have identical Test batting line up for top 5 even for ODI's. Does India need 2 spinners in SA or 4 seamers? Dhoni has fixed plans & goes with them rightly or wrongly irrespective of the conditions. They may work in India but on overseas trips they are disasterous! He needs someone else picking the best XI for him. Time for talking is over - India needs to walk the talk now!

  • Chris_P on December 7, 2013, 22:55 GMT

    I have seen a couple of promising Indian pace bowlers but seriously as long as the Indian authorities give their bowlers flat pitches that make them do back breaking work, no quick bowler will prosper. Where is the incentive for Indian quick bowlers to develop? How is this good for Indian cricket when they don't allow their quicks to develop like those from other countries? I feel for Umesh, who showed great promise when he toured here last time. He has had to bowl on flat pitches with no help at all. As long as this continues, the void of pace will forever linger IMHO.

  • sixesandfours on December 7, 2013, 21:42 GMT

    Lovely to have Yadav Ishant and Shami bowling 140k+ and as SA commentators mentioning let things happen with fast bowling with bowling right lengths rather than bowling with experiments that India did with BKumar and MSharma. Let the ball talk by Indian pace trio Y I S. All the best India team and God bless you India!!!!

  • Dhanno on December 7, 2013, 21:27 GMT

    @anurag and Harmony. Are you kidding yourself ? SA has prepared similar wickets and lost to India (in tests), AUs (in tests) and I suppose recently against Pak in ODI. In meantime they were even outdone by SL fast bowlers once at home all due to preparing true SA wickets. So please keep this commenting away. Its similar to india lost toEngland, everyone complained about English condtions. remember what happened when england toured india ??

  • Vilander on December 7, 2013, 19:37 GMT

    Two catches dropped two runouts poor opening bowling , no yadav. Make these errors go away Dhoni, there is chance to win the next two games just take it.

  • Vilander on December 7, 2013, 19:35 GMT

    Get Umesh in not Ishant Ishant will spray it short outside off and get carded all around, Bhuvnesh if he can get his line and length corrected for bouncy SA surfaces should play ahead of Mohit and Ishant. But Yadav has to play, and open with Shami. And please let Yuvi sit out for Rahane ( but wont happen bloody Steyn took care of that by stating his name and now Dhoni wont drop him to give Yuvi a chance at Steyn- but the whole world knows who will win that bout in SA). Rayudu might be a better bet that Jadeja, Ashwin cant be dropped as he is probably our best batsman in middle order after Dhoni.

  • Monif on December 7, 2013, 18:10 GMT

    Harmony_not_Discord, Are you joking, It was always Imran, Botham, Kapil and Hadlee. You missed Botham man. And Hadlee was not an Allrounder, he was best bowler among them. Imran was best as a leader.

  • Harmony111 on December 7, 2013, 16:13 GMT

    This also shows what a profound waste of a talent Ishant Sharma is. He has got stamina, he has got pace, he has got a very good incoming ball but he does not have what is needed the most -- the brains. Had he learnt to bowl in these 5yrs then imagine what lovely attack we would have had --- Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav & Mohd Shami -- all bowling 140+. Not only would this attack have kept any batting team on backfoot but the very presence of this attack would have meant that the home team would not have dared to make fast wickets. Thus, India are doubly disadvantaged here. Our batsmen have to score more runs in more challenging situations against much superior attacks and when they fail they get labelled as Flat Track Bullies. It is another matter that the other teams can't score even half of what we score on flat tracks.

    I am hopeful that Bhuvi & Mohit will show marked improvement from now on & will make the Indian bowling tougher.

  • on December 7, 2013, 16:08 GMT

    India's bowling has been weak for a long time but BCCI didn't do anything about it. They relied on Zak for much too long without any support for him. Now without Zak, there are no pace bowlers to speak of. The likes of Mohit Sharma and B. Kumar are no more than fast spinners in SA batsmen's minds. Once India starts to prepare fast/bouncy wickets to nurture pace bowlers, then in 10-12 years time, their bowling problems will be solved. The batsman will come around on this tour, but the weakness in bowling will lead to a sweep by the Proteas.

  • on December 7, 2013, 14:29 GMT

    Why you do not accept that indian bowling is not of much quality. Its not the pitch that do the trick Pakis bowlers also bowled and defended low totals and restricting them to low totals as well. Never cross 300+ mark.

  • ketaann on December 7, 2013, 14:15 GMT

    nice to see performance of younger players, keep it up. Atleast this will open window for seniors otherwise dhoni will never let them to come back.

  • on December 7, 2013, 14:10 GMT

    It was a mistake on part of Dhoni to start the proceedings with the medium pacer Mohit Sharma instead of Md. Shami.It would have made alot of difference also if he had used Zak instead of Mohit Sharma as Zak knew the SA conditions better, but the trust of Dhoni in his IPL colleague has let him down knowing fully well that he was short of good bowlers!

  • chapathishot on December 7, 2013, 14:05 GMT

    If you look at the score cards and the bowlers who were quicker done well and not the ones operating below 140.So it was a selection blunder by India selecting two military medium bowlers with two spinners none had ever bowled in south Africa.They should have selected Ishant who does well on bouncy wickets.They selected him in Indian conditions where it was really difficult for him.Two changes I suggest 1.Ishant for Mohit ,Rehane for Yuvraj

  • on December 7, 2013, 14:01 GMT

    The number of runs conceded in the death is not just about bad bowling but also a lot to do with captaincy- slowing down, a bit of distraction, variety, discretion on the bowler to be used, keeping the bowler less panicky etc.

    Previous mess of the delivery shouldn't trigger another mess and some how in one days, many Indian bowlers seem to be getting confused and creating their own downfall when things are not going great.

  • sixesandfours on December 7, 2013, 13:42 GMT

    Champions trophy won by India with Umesh Yadav and Ishanth. Why india left them in the match as these two blokes looks sharp in TV footages in the match and look at their eyes they are sharp and eager to bowl and anyone see their alertness in apply aplauding their captain and team for small wins in the game. India should give them the chance who can bowl at 140+ and see SA struggles. When win the Toss taking batting first is the key as there is no due in SA pitches Johannesburg, Durban and Centurian. Wishing a good contest the rest of the toor. Best wishes to both teams.

  • Harmony_not_Discord on December 7, 2013, 13:17 GMT

    I think 'Hunter77' refers Kapil Dev as "great" amongst all-rounders. This is not far from the truth. In that era three all-rounders were fondly compared - Kapil Dev, Imran Khan and Sir Richard Hadlee

  • spinkingKK on December 7, 2013, 12:57 GMT

    Why can't they play Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma? They have the pace and energy to succeed in the SA conditions. You can't judge them on the basis of their inferior performances to that of the pedestrian bowlers in the subcontinent conditions. Pedestrian bowlers can bowl fast spin and make it difficult for the batsmen in Indian pitches. But, overseas pitches need that extra yard of pace.

  • ramli on December 7, 2013, 12:44 GMT

    Bowlers take time to evolve in new conditions ... this applies to SA bowlers too when they visit India ... it only remains to be seen how quickly Indian bowlers learn to contain SA batsmen ... with so-called pedestrian attack, we still won the T20 WC in SA ... it takes strong will and mind to overcome adversity and still deliver the goods ... good luck to India

  • kapsitash on December 7, 2013, 12:10 GMT

    An absolute bulls eye article, u dont just need to pitch the ball up in those wanderers condition but just need to ball back of length by hitting the pitch hard.Both bhuvi and mohit Sharma are the bowlers looking for swing and they pitched ball either too full or gave them room.

    SA bowlers except Dale steyn just looked to hit the deck hard, while dale sunged and seamed the ball.

    Indian bowlers will soon acclimatize and do well in the next match against SA.

  • Ramu444 on December 7, 2013, 12:07 GMT

    I think this ICC ranking system is flawed.teams winning away and at home gets the same points.it should be half the points winning at home as compared to winning away,only then we will know who is the real No.1

  • CricketFever11 on December 7, 2013, 11:42 GMT

    Every where India's bowlers struggle to adapt. Not in South Africa only. Indian bowling is pedestrian..........

  • mark2011 on December 7, 2013, 10:59 GMT

    this is the status of bowlling of so called #1 team ... pathetic...they r only #1 in India. may be their batting is good,, but not team as a cricket #1......flat pitch theory isnt working everywhere and that is not cricket is.....

  • on December 7, 2013, 10:52 GMT

    I don't understand the logic behind not including Zak for ODIs when they had to leave early eventually.. One more ranji game or playing the ODIs would have helped !!!

  • greatshinwari on December 7, 2013, 10:48 GMT

    IT Doesn't mean that shami is a gud bowler by bowling decent spells in 2 or 3 matches...let him wat he does in the next two matches...i think india never produce a quality fast bowler after agarkar...agarkar also was gud in the first few years..not till the end of his carrier....

  • on December 7, 2013, 10:45 GMT

    dhoni should pick umesh yadav, shami ahmed and ishant sharma/ bhuvaneshwar kumar for the next match. indian bowlers lacked pace in the first match. its time to inject some pace in the team by bringing the likes of yadav, shami and sharma. batsman will only be confident if bowlers do well equally supported by fielders.

  • on December 7, 2013, 10:41 GMT

    Team india can only play at their home grounds.... outside india, they are just ordinary.... there is a saying in my country that "a dog behaves like a lion in his street" :) good luck!!!

  • on December 7, 2013, 10:18 GMT

    Selectors should consider new players to indian squad, like Rishi dhawan/Parwez rasool/Jalac saxena/all can bat and bowl in coming matches against NZ.

  • on December 7, 2013, 10:14 GMT

    Dear Selectors, If you analysis indias last series win against Aus, Wi, india won by the class of 4 four batsmen, kohli/dhawan/dhoni/rohit.now we see even in SA also our bowlers leaking runs, and put all pressure to our batsman. In SA pitches fast bowlers , can deliver 140+ important than line and length bowlers only have speed of 130 like bhuvaneswar/mohit.So mr shoni pls include Ishant/Umesh in coming games, open with shami and umesh.Raina and yuvi good T20 players, in oneday they are good only after 35-40 overs, keep only one player in the playing eleven, at No 6.India should consider Poojara/rahane at 4 so dhawan/rohit/kohli/rahane or poojara can bat upto 35-40 overs so dhoni,jadeja, yuvi or raina can attack last overs.Still india have chance to win next 2 matches.

  • TSJ07 on December 7, 2013, 10:03 GMT

    While it seems IPL have helped our already strong batting, it has further weakened pace bowling due to the fear of hammering they can get in overdose of T20 due to IPL. So before they come to bowl in powerplays//slog overs they confidence is already down by few levels. Just few years back no side was as fearless against our bowling as the current ODI sides. Steyn was bowling consistently on particular line and length and how Indian bowlers were bowling couple of feet away from off stump regularly is beyond my belief. All they have to do is bowl atleast 4 out of six if not all on good area but they even fail to do so.Batting will not come to rescue everytime and in foreign condition.Infact earlier we hardly used to get green tops coz we had decent pace bowlers like Srinath,Agarkar,Prasad,,ZaheerNehra,Balaji but with the current crop of pacers except Shammi and up to certain extent Bhuvi we are bound to get green tops to avoid the might of Indian batting.

  • on December 7, 2013, 8:48 GMT

    Everyone is missing the trick over here.The way to defeat S.A is by having a good spin attack having variety.In past pakistan used to have wasim/waqar/shoaib but still couldn't win.South africans are accustomed to playing faster bowlers.The spinners of pakistan stopped free run flowing in middle overs thus created extreme pressure resulting in wins.

  • siddhartha87 on December 7, 2013, 8:47 GMT

    @RajeshNaik you are completely wrong about Vinay Kumar.Actually have you seen the ODI series against Aussies. True VK got some wicket but all of them were in slog shots.VK can not take a genuine wicket.He was not afraid of going for runs? You should have seen in 7Th ODI,his body language told how afraid he was of the onslaught. India should bring in faster bowler.LIke Umesh Yadav.Make no mistake about even Yadav will leak runs against the likes of AB but he will do well against lower middle order.But Mohit or Bhuvi will be punished by anyone in the world in the slog overs.I doubt they will fail even against the likes of Steyn or Morne Morkel in the death overs

  • on December 7, 2013, 8:10 GMT

    @ Hunters77: Ur comment about Kapil and R.Singh made me laugh and nearly I had to fall from my chair by calling them great!!! lol........They were ordinary bowlers and went unnoticed by the world. They were among the average and ordinary lot!!! Nothing else!!! Peace!!!

  • on December 7, 2013, 7:58 GMT

    my opinion is that in sa pitch swing is not the strength but pace and bounce umesh and ishant must be partners with shami and shami and umesh opening the bowling who can constantly hit 140+ mark. batting yuvi must take rest for one odi and play rahane at 4 .raina has a 100 in sa we must not forget.

  • Ashrit365 on December 7, 2013, 7:53 GMT

    i think the bcci should build a pool of 10-12 fast bowlers and start coaching them under foreign coaches

  • Hunters77 on December 7, 2013, 7:52 GMT

    India needs a more solid bowling attack Bhuvi and Mohit are just not going to cut it as opening bowlers especially in South Africa. Maybe India should open with Umesh and Shami they much quicker and can extract more from S.A. wickets. Also the selectors should show some faith in Stuart Binny as team all-rounder he bowls med fast and is useful with the bat also maybe mould him into a new Robin Singh. India needs all rounders to follow in the footsteps of the great Kapil Dev and Robin Singh, am sure Binny can fill those shoes.

  • on December 7, 2013, 7:47 GMT

    india should hire better bowling coaches and try to produce different kind pitches.

  • optimiser on December 7, 2013, 7:42 GMT

    Ah finally an article with same thoughts as mine. I dont really mind India batting first in the second odi and put up a score of not more than 200 but the bowlers not giving it away & even in a loosing scenario pick up 6-7 wickets & let the south african innings last for 40-45 overs. That would be a huge confidence boost for themselves and the team on the whole too and then the batsmen can go there and fight it out atleast for the test matches

  • RajeshNaik on December 7, 2013, 7:28 GMT

    Can not blame Mohit, as he is just starting out and hopefully he will learn. but I have always said even while he was doing well for CSK that he is spectacularly one dimensional and can be easily figured out. Shami may go for runs but he has that knack of taking wickets. One who is not afraid of going for runs always gets the wickets. Vinay Kumar was one such bowler. But unfortunately not too many realise it and dismiss him as ordinary. One should know that none of the Indian bowlers (except Shami) bowled well in the ODI series against Australia. But because of his no fear of going for runs VK ended up as the 2nd highest wicket taker. Coming to Bhuvaneshwar, I fail to understand what is great about this bowler. A swing bowler's is a good bowler based on how he performs when there is no swing. Bhuvaneshwar is pathetic when there is no swing assistance. Even in helpful conditions he failed to do well. Interesting days ahead.

  • FAB_ALI on December 7, 2013, 7:25 GMT

    Umesh Yadav must come in for Mohit Sharma, You need some pace and cannot give all similar bowlers to the opposition.

  • RajeshNaik on December 7, 2013, 7:11 GMT

    Bhuvaneshwar will be out of Indian team within next 2 years, unless he learns how to bowl and take wickets when there is no assistance for swing. I have always said that he is a king if there is swing or he is just nothing. Just runs in and bowls at that spot. If it swings fine, or else then too fine. As long as no runs are conceded it is fine seems to be his thinking. In ODIs one needs wickets, one needs to create opportunities. Bhuvaneshwar has taken wickets when there is swing. He has failed to create even one opportunity, when there is no assistance. No yorkers, no short balls, no bouncers, no slower ones, just vanilla good length deliveries. That is why he is totally ineffective in batting PP and death overs. He is afraid of going for runs and does not try anything extra apart from his usual straight deliveries at his usual pace. And moreover his total lack of cricketing sense while fielding in the deep has cost India 3-5 catches. He needs to be innovative and hard working.

  • on December 7, 2013, 6:59 GMT

    Ishant and Umesh needs to be given a chance. Mohit, Bhuvaneshwar and Shami all looks one-dimensional. Playing two spinners doesn't look fine in SA. Further, Rahane would fit in better than Yuvraj.

  • on December 7, 2013, 5:59 GMT

    Jadega and Yuvi are the biggest weak links in overseas tours (They are good at home) and i think we need hard hitting fast bowling all-rounder in place of Jadega and for Yuvi we need a solid batsman with good technique and the answer is Pujara. On the other hand Stuart Binny can be a good all rounder because he swings the ball and scores quickly.

    So Pujara for Yuvi and Binny For jadega for overseas tours. Not to mention Ashwin has been horrible outside India.

  • shashi_dhoni on December 7, 2013, 5:37 GMT

    I want dhoni to change the whole set up of playing 11..... Rohit is better in middle order in these condition... drop ashwin and yuvi for god shake... my playing 11 in batting order : : Dhawan , Rahane , Kohli , Rohit , Dhoni , Raina , Jaddu , Bhuvi , Shami , Umesh , Ishant (this will be the competitive team against this Sa attack ) If dhoni doesnt change his playing 11 , India( No 1 team) may face a rare whitewash in ODIS...-)

  • pull_shot on December 7, 2013, 5:34 GMT

    bcci should look for young promising bowlers more than there money

  • sixesandfours on December 7, 2013, 5:30 GMT

    Where are Umesh and Ishant who won India's Champions trophy in England? With B Kumar speed Kallis, Amla and the rest comes again to party in tests and ODIs. M Sharma lack direction and areas to bowl with inexperience. Dhoni and India management missing the trick by not including Umesh and Ishant as they are looking fresh on bench and this way continuing India will face uphill tasks.

  • Al_Bundy1 on December 7, 2013, 4:19 GMT

    There's no need to play Yuvi and Raina outside India. The whole world knows that they can't play on fast seeming wickets. Only one of Ashwin or Jadeja should play when there's no help for spinners. Sir Jadeja might be a triple centurion in Ranji Trophy, but Ashwin is a batter batsman. Outside India we need big, strong bowlers like Pankaj Singh, Ishwar Pandey, etc.

  • Desihungama on December 7, 2013, 4:12 GMT

    Isn't Shami the same lad Wasim Akram pointed out few years back? Even I thought Wasim was joking with the Indians. I am sorry but India's bowling traditionally has not been bad. They've seen better days from the likes of Madan Lal, Bedi, Kapil, Srinath, Prabharkar,Kumble, Agarkar and Zaheer Khan. The current lot has played way too much cricket in India including IPL and in process failed to develop the skills required at a higher level. We can all point to when the decline started.

  • RD28 on December 7, 2013, 3:45 GMT

    Indian bowlers had no bussiness in giving away350 odd on a green top pitch, 350+ on fast bouncy green top that too onthe first game played by Indian Batting in SAF( not even a single practice match, A tour of India to SAF was payed on dry pitches not green tops) puts immense pressure on any battng line up leave alone India when facing likes of Styen or Morkel, which lead to expansive strokes by Dhawan ,Kholi , Run outs of Raina ,Rohit, If Indian bowlers did well by restricting SAF to 260 - 280 we would have given a fair fight as at end of day we were able to reach214, Our Fast bowlers are soo bad that opposition is writing them offeven before facing a single ball courtesey to AB comments on eve of the Match. selectors who constantly dish out miltary Mediums like Vinay Kumar,Jaydev Undakta,MohitSharma, Bhuvi,Ishant all who cant put ball in block hole and dish out dollies in slog overs( 100+ in 6 overs) is not helpling India. Dhoni and Selectors please wake up pls groom Varon and Umesh

  • Solid_Snake on December 7, 2013, 3:34 GMT

    @cric.rash :There's no solution to that..Pak got Factory of Pacers due to the fact that our youth looks up to players like Saqlain,Mushtaq Ahmed,Sarfaraz Nawaz,Imran Khan,Wasim,Waqar & many other legends.All like to bowl as fast as Shoaib Akhtar & swing like Wasim Waqar...Nobody cares about batting much. There in India,scene is different..Youth looks up to players like Gavasker,Sachin,Dravid & other players mostly all batsmen.I that case,nobody cares about Bowling much..

    You cannot change the mindset of people that easily.You just cannot make someone like or hate anything.

  • Solid_Snake on December 7, 2013, 3:26 GMT

    I knew that Bhuvi would be so lethal in SA..But he disappointed everyone..& where's Umesh yadav?India need hi Pace..I guess he's the fastest bowler for India now a days..He bowls well..still he's sitting outside

  • buntyj on December 7, 2013, 3:05 GMT

    this is why medium pace wot deliver in rsa you need pace n bounce you need umesh (pace) n pandey (bounce, successful a team tour) with shami and maybe zak

  • on December 7, 2013, 1:59 GMT

    I think, India sould go in with four pacers, Bhuvi, Shami, Umesh and Ishant. Ashwin is not the kind of bowler who can get you wickets on these tracks. Umesh with his pace and Ishant with his bounce can do good. Plus, Dhoni should come at no.5 followed by Raina. And, with all due respect to Yuvraj, his inclusion in the side is not helping India's cause. Bring in, someone like Rahane who is capable enough to handle the short ball and can rotate the strike in the middle overs.

    All in all, I am hoping for a good Indian performance in the second ODI.

  • DingDong420 on December 7, 2013, 1:38 GMT

    Yuvraj & Raina out of their depth, and there's no room for both Ashwin & Jadeja in foreign conditions.

    Yadav to bow, and Rahane in. I dont know why Pujara isn't considered for odi's especially away from home

  • IndCricFan2013 on December 7, 2013, 1:16 GMT

    We have a tendency to criticize the one who leaked runs and ask to pick the one who was benched. Umesh would have leaked runs as well, if he was picked. He did so before as well, the reason for he not being part of the starting 11. I would not worry about Mohit leaking runs too much, his 5th ODI. He will make mistakes and learn. He has not so far proved at death, he will learn. He was the right choice since umesh has been erratic in previous games, leaking runs and lot of wides and extras. Bhuvaneshwar had an off day. The bowlers would come back in the 2nd ODI. But the batsman? The worry should be more on them, Except Dhoni and Ashwin no one seemed like a batsman. Once Kohli starts moving his feet he will be more than fine. Others, not so sure. It is not as if we scored 275 to 300 to blame only the bowlers. Batsman have more than equal share of blame.

  • ProdigyA on December 7, 2013, 0:53 GMT

    Shami, Umesh, Ishant. Yeah I really said Ishant, think with his height he can be useful in these conditions.

  • on December 7, 2013, 0:47 GMT

    To open the bowling with Mohit and BK was a farce. It isn't India where you retain Shami for reverse swing. If you don't make inroads in the first ten overs after winning the toss on a juicy wicket, you've essentially lost the game. Ishant and Yadav would be better than the military medium pacers because they'll hurry the batsmen. Ashwin bowled short and was even pulled at times. Acclimatisation takes time, but common sense can't be lost over a nine hour flight.

    Batsmen shouldn't be expected to "clean up". They should complement the bowlers. Having said that, it's hard to even compliment the bowling that's been consistently shoddy since October.

  • JayPadia on December 7, 2013, 0:29 GMT

    "put the ball there, and expect the conditions to do the rest" - This is the philosophy of Indian bowling ever since I have been watching Indian cricket (90s) and that has worked often as pitches in India favor them. I have always felt that comes a bit probably from Indian first class cricket - where dry pitches are produced to favor the bowlers. When the pitches don't do much, teams rely on the first innings lead to collect points. That rarely makes the bowler/captain to try hard and generate wickets. Only bowler who (he also had a lean patch of just bowling balls) came out and kept developing was Kumble. It was Kumble's backbone Indian bowling relied a lot on. Zaheer seems to be able to do that these days - but probably not frequently enough.

  • basusri133b on December 7, 2013, 0:24 GMT

    What you see is what you get. The conditions were were not suitable for India. As soon as we are out of our Subcontinent comfort zone, our flaws are cruelly exposed. But to be fair to the bowlers, chances were put down at very crucial stages. Rohit Sharma should have taken the catch offered by Hashim Amala, A wicket at that stage may have had an important bearing on the subsequent course of events. We have not been blessed with natural abilities when it comes to fielding. Kumar & Sharma should be replaced with Ishant & Umesh Yadav. Ashwin should move up the batting order. Raina should be dropped, he does not have the ability to play outside the Subcontinent. Ambati Rayudu should play instead of Jadeja.

  • Unmesh_cric on December 6, 2013, 23:48 GMT

    Pick Umesh Yadav ahead of Mohit Sharma..plain and simple. Umesh has got pace and can extract bounce, which is perfect SA conditions. In England, swing is the main weapon and bounce can be used as a second ploy. In South Africa, it's the other way round.

  • doctorgoogly on December 6, 2013, 23:41 GMT

    Indian bowlers should stick to basic like good line and length with bowling to their strength, shouldn't trying anything extra and missing the point completely getting belted: just pitch the ball consistently in the corridor of uncertinity with space variation judiciously not giving batsman room for strokplay.

  • itischandu on December 6, 2013, 23:25 GMT

    This is a short tour both for longer and shorter version of the game(s) .By the time they get their length right in any of the format , tour itself might finish . Only saving grace is that the "learning" experience for the bowlers . But again , no guarantee that for next SAF tour we have same bowlers to use this experience (if you look at history with the exception of Srinath,ZAK and Kumble none of the bowlers have been repeated in previous SAF tours) . So , as far as bowling is concerned this tour might again reiterate the bitter truth that we don't have adequate bowling resources.

  • on December 6, 2013, 22:45 GMT

    Dhoni wasted the new ball by giving to bhuvnes kumar and mohit sharma. if anybody had watched the game when steyn was bowling with the new ball, he was unplayable because the new ball was hard it gave good bounce and when steyn bowled with the old ball even ashwin hit him for boundry. my point is on a overcast lush green wicket after winning the toss dhoni should have bowled with Mohammed sami and umesh yadav

  • on December 6, 2013, 22:39 GMT

    Fast bowling is crucial in ODI matches, Not only in this match it has been a long long problem for Indian cricket... Honestly we never produce a match changing pace bowler after Kapil Dev.

  • krishh09 on December 6, 2013, 22:38 GMT

    Answer would lie on whether Umesh Yadav would come to the party (am amazed that Dhoni did not pick him) and will have a go at the SA batsmen to create sustained pressure along with Shami. If Zaheer also bowls as well as he could, we will surely be a force in tests atleast. Dhoni should really use ODIs as practice matches for Umesh and Shami to get their line and length right.

  • sixesandfours on December 6, 2013, 22:11 GMT

    India missed the trick. Pace is the key for SA bowlers as SA pitches are pace bound and not much swing bound and India should focus on including Yadav and Ishant who are at 140+ KPH bowlers and give rest to B.Kumar and M.Sharma for the remaining matches if India wants to compete SA. Yadav and Ishant having pace and bounce like Ryan and Steyn and they are the first choice bowlers India should consider. Best wishes to both the teams!!!

  • Nampally on December 6, 2013, 21:52 GMT

    Sid, India always took the attitude that poor bowling is compensated by strong batting. Indian batting was made to look strong in the ODI's by Rohit, Dhawan & Kohli. The rest of the batting had only Dhoni showing his authority. LH's Yuvraj, Raina & Jadeja were consistent failures especially against pace bowling. India had time to think & bring in alternate players like Pujara #4 & Rahane #5. But Dhoni insisted on keeping Yuvraj & Raina @ 4 & 5 spots despite Johnson made them look like Rabbits in India in the OZ series.Jadeja justifies his spot as a bowler. The batting changes are essential first. As for the bowling on Fast paced wkts. Yadev's 140 + KPH pace must be utilised. Why is he on the bench? Shami & Yadev also need an experienced Mentor like ZAK to complete the trio. Mohit is totally inexperienced to be put his neck on the line. B.Kumar can be the 4th seamer, Without these logical changes India cannot hold the SA batting to chasable <250. SA bowling is difficult to score 300!

  • doctorgoogly on December 6, 2013, 21:49 GMT

    My only advice to indian bowlers is forget about past and about pitches while sticking to basis of good line and length consistently in corridor of uncertinity with speed variation and see it can trouble any great batting order,good luck for second ODI

  • Cpt.Meanster on December 6, 2013, 21:42 GMT

    This whole affair of criticizing and damning the Indian bowlers is quickly getting BORING. The fact is India don't have genuine pace bowlers. It has always been our problem. It's not something that is new plaguing Indian cricket. Ever since the great Kapil Dev retired, we have thrived on medium pacers and swing bowlers bowling at 120-130 kph. For the most part we didn't complain because these kind of bowlers are very good in Indian conditions. But overseas, in SA, AUS etc., you need real fast bowlers who can hit the deck and trouble the batsmen with seam movement or swing. Steyn bowls it as pace and swings it, Morkel bowls quick and gets hostile bounce. None of the Indian bowlers can do this. So they need to find ways to upset the SA batsmen. Or else, the batting will be under pressure. So it's time we stop criticizing the team and wish them well. The Saffers struggle in India ALL the time. They cannot play spin on rank turners. Nobody talks about that. So this is not a big deal.

  • Batmanindallas on December 6, 2013, 21:17 GMT

    Time to see beyond a Kumar and Mohit sharma. India need to find pacemen like Shami, Yadav and maybe a Varoon to do better abroad.

  • on December 6, 2013, 21:13 GMT

    A reminder of last visit to England - an unpleasant reminder a hard to forget experience. Speaking of home performance every dog is a lion in its den. Let them demonstrate their prowess overseas. May be Pakistan can teach something from their recent performance in SA.

  • Unomaas on December 6, 2013, 21:08 GMT

    Yet another opinion/analysis which seeks to firewall MS Dhoni the captain and the BCCI from poor decisions leading into the match. I am a Saffa supporter but this ridiculous barrage of criticism leveled at the Indian bowlers is going to far!

    When Dale Steyn was a raw 23 year old, he made his debut for SA, got smacked around and then promptly got dropped only to make a comeback. If that happened to Steyn and he was raised on these kind of pitches, what makes you think that a raw 23 + 25 year old can do better with only 3 days practice?

    India picked the right bowlers for the job but they missed a trick when they didn't pick an experienced pack leader such as Zack or Ishant. It was so evident during the match that when the bowlers were struggling, they required a senior bowler to provide advice and guidance. Instead, everytime they got smacked, the rest of the team avoided them like pariah's. Not ONCE during the match did Dhoni go to his bowlers and offer advice or encouragement...?

  • on December 6, 2013, 20:40 GMT

    I hope India rises to the challenge...it would be exciting...they may never face a better bowling line up again in their lives...if Viru and rohi has to prove a point, no better occassion....Indians did not want aussy or wi series...this was the series we were waiting for...

  • usernames on December 6, 2013, 20:01 GMT

    Having said what I said in my previous comment, our bowlers need to adapt to the situations better. Bhuvi is extremely good but he's limited, so Dhoni tries to use him at the start. If he fails there, his role in the team will come under question (not that he should be shown the door right now, but he needs to be even more consistent than the rest because he's very limited).

    Mohit, again, is a rookie, so he too will learn. I felt Umesh would have been better in his place, not just because Mohit performed badly -- anyone could have -- but because he's just 3 matches old, similar to Bhuvi, and has played maybe one season of real domestic cricket. Shami did very well, so that's a good start. I think Bhuvi, Umesh, and Shami could be a good combination for the next match.

    Our bowlers have it a little easier than, say, Pakistan, because if they end up conceding 50-60 extra runs, our batsmen will make up for those. If, however, they end up conceding 100 more than par, nobody can do anything.

  • Harmony_not_Discord on December 6, 2013, 19:56 GMT

    This is what I have been saying in my comments; Indian bowling on a helpful pitch first up was quite innocuous. Unless they find good seamers and not trundles bowled thus far to become a balanced team, India will be good but never be a great side - not in tests.

  • usernames on December 6, 2013, 19:54 GMT

    As always, we're reading too much into just one match. Most of these players were playing their first ever match in SA and nobody is born knowing how to play Steyn and Morkel. These players are smart and they will learn; if nothing else, this tour will be an excellent learning experience for every member of the team.

    The problem, as you mention, is that the home performances raise the expectations far too much: you fail one match and suddenly you see people asking to replace half the team. This is another reason why a longer tour of SA would have served India well, even if they lost much of it. Playing the likes of Pakistan, SA, etc. on bouncy pitches will equip these players even better, and they will learn how to play on those pitches, too.

    I don't see the gloom that there was back in 2011-12 when we lost to Australia. There's promise, and yes, it will take some time, but we will get there. Chopping and changing players won't help them build.

  • SurlyCynic on December 6, 2013, 19:54 GMT

    Don't understand why bowlers like Yadav were left on the sidelines at the Wanderers of all places and India selected a popgun attack instead. Bizarre.

  • Al_Bundy1 on December 6, 2013, 19:53 GMT

    This is the main reason why BCCI should build a bench strength of 8-10 pace bowlers. It makes no sense to try the same old Ishant Sharma, Vinay Kumar, Unadkat, Mohit Sharma, etc. Why not give chances to strongly built quicker bowlers like Pankaj Singh, Rishi Dhwan, Imtiaz Ahmed, etc?? Mohit, Unadkat, Vinay are useful only in T20 where batsmen are under pressure to score off every ball.

  • CherryWood_Champion on December 6, 2013, 19:50 GMT

    I am quite surprised that Mohit was picked ahead of Umesh Yadav. On these pitches we need raw pace in and around 145. Yuvi needs to be dropped and either Rayudu/Rahane should be given a chance. I do not see a role for Yuvi for 2015 world cup in Australia on similar kind of pitches. Better we start giving chances to the likes of Rayudu/Pujara/Rahane who are better equipped with technique.

  • CherryWood_Champion on December 6, 2013, 19:50 GMT

    I am quite surprised that Mohit was picked ahead of Umesh Yadav. On these pitches we need raw pace in and around 145. Yuvi needs to be dropped and either Rayudu/Rahane should be given a chance. I do not see a role for Yuvi for 2015 world cup in Australia on similar kind of pitches. Better we start giving chances to the likes of Rayudu/Pujara/Rahane who are better equipped with technique.

  • Al_Bundy1 on December 6, 2013, 19:53 GMT

    This is the main reason why BCCI should build a bench strength of 8-10 pace bowlers. It makes no sense to try the same old Ishant Sharma, Vinay Kumar, Unadkat, Mohit Sharma, etc. Why not give chances to strongly built quicker bowlers like Pankaj Singh, Rishi Dhwan, Imtiaz Ahmed, etc?? Mohit, Unadkat, Vinay are useful only in T20 where batsmen are under pressure to score off every ball.

  • SurlyCynic on December 6, 2013, 19:54 GMT

    Don't understand why bowlers like Yadav were left on the sidelines at the Wanderers of all places and India selected a popgun attack instead. Bizarre.

  • usernames on December 6, 2013, 19:54 GMT

    As always, we're reading too much into just one match. Most of these players were playing their first ever match in SA and nobody is born knowing how to play Steyn and Morkel. These players are smart and they will learn; if nothing else, this tour will be an excellent learning experience for every member of the team.

    The problem, as you mention, is that the home performances raise the expectations far too much: you fail one match and suddenly you see people asking to replace half the team. This is another reason why a longer tour of SA would have served India well, even if they lost much of it. Playing the likes of Pakistan, SA, etc. on bouncy pitches will equip these players even better, and they will learn how to play on those pitches, too.

    I don't see the gloom that there was back in 2011-12 when we lost to Australia. There's promise, and yes, it will take some time, but we will get there. Chopping and changing players won't help them build.

  • Harmony_not_Discord on December 6, 2013, 19:56 GMT

    This is what I have been saying in my comments; Indian bowling on a helpful pitch first up was quite innocuous. Unless they find good seamers and not trundles bowled thus far to become a balanced team, India will be good but never be a great side - not in tests.

  • usernames on December 6, 2013, 20:01 GMT

    Having said what I said in my previous comment, our bowlers need to adapt to the situations better. Bhuvi is extremely good but he's limited, so Dhoni tries to use him at the start. If he fails there, his role in the team will come under question (not that he should be shown the door right now, but he needs to be even more consistent than the rest because he's very limited).

    Mohit, again, is a rookie, so he too will learn. I felt Umesh would have been better in his place, not just because Mohit performed badly -- anyone could have -- but because he's just 3 matches old, similar to Bhuvi, and has played maybe one season of real domestic cricket. Shami did very well, so that's a good start. I think Bhuvi, Umesh, and Shami could be a good combination for the next match.

    Our bowlers have it a little easier than, say, Pakistan, because if they end up conceding 50-60 extra runs, our batsmen will make up for those. If, however, they end up conceding 100 more than par, nobody can do anything.

  • on December 6, 2013, 20:40 GMT

    I hope India rises to the challenge...it would be exciting...they may never face a better bowling line up again in their lives...if Viru and rohi has to prove a point, no better occassion....Indians did not want aussy or wi series...this was the series we were waiting for...

  • Unomaas on December 6, 2013, 21:08 GMT

    Yet another opinion/analysis which seeks to firewall MS Dhoni the captain and the BCCI from poor decisions leading into the match. I am a Saffa supporter but this ridiculous barrage of criticism leveled at the Indian bowlers is going to far!

    When Dale Steyn was a raw 23 year old, he made his debut for SA, got smacked around and then promptly got dropped only to make a comeback. If that happened to Steyn and he was raised on these kind of pitches, what makes you think that a raw 23 + 25 year old can do better with only 3 days practice?

    India picked the right bowlers for the job but they missed a trick when they didn't pick an experienced pack leader such as Zack or Ishant. It was so evident during the match that when the bowlers were struggling, they required a senior bowler to provide advice and guidance. Instead, everytime they got smacked, the rest of the team avoided them like pariah's. Not ONCE during the match did Dhoni go to his bowlers and offer advice or encouragement...?

  • on December 6, 2013, 21:13 GMT

    A reminder of last visit to England - an unpleasant reminder a hard to forget experience. Speaking of home performance every dog is a lion in its den. Let them demonstrate their prowess overseas. May be Pakistan can teach something from their recent performance in SA.

  • Batmanindallas on December 6, 2013, 21:17 GMT

    Time to see beyond a Kumar and Mohit sharma. India need to find pacemen like Shami, Yadav and maybe a Varoon to do better abroad.