India in South Africa 2013-14 December 14, 2013

'Kohli needs to stay confident' - Jennings

Ray Jennings, the former South Africa coach and the current coach of Royal Challengers Bangalore, believes his ward, Virat Kohli, faces a difficult test in South Africa
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Virat Kohli and Ray Jennings go back a long way. In 2008, Virat Kohli's Under-19 team was bowled out for 159 in the World Cup final, he had seen some of Ray Jennings' South African boys "playing football and relaxed as if they had come for a picnic" during the break. He had heard Bradley Barnes, the wicketkeeper, say they had sent India packing.

After pulling off a win that day, Kohli made it a point to be in the faces of the South African players as he swore with a stump in hand. Jennings, the South Africa coach, congratulated Kohli, shook his hand, and was Kohli's coach at Royal Challengers Bangalore a few months later.

Over the last five years, Jennings has worked closely with Kohli and, along with Anil Kumble, has been credited with moulding the batsman's attitude; he knows Kohli's game well. In those five years, Kohli has progressed impressively in international cricket, becoming adept at chases in ODIs, and showing he can cut it in Tests as well.

Jennings feels these two Tests in South Africa will be a difficult examination for Kohli, especially considering his performance in the ODI series - 31 runs in two innings. Both his dismissals followed shortish deliveries, which raised some flags. Jennings believes if there is a weakness in Kohli's game, it is against quick bowling, and South African conditions won't provide the Indian batsman any respite.

"It's going to be quite a difficult test for him," Jennings said. "South Africa in South African conditions will try to exploit his weaknesses. When you look at Virat Kohli as a batsman, he's a superb player of spin. If there is any weakness, it's while facing fast bowling. He will definitely be tested in South Africa, like he has been during the ODIs. He has to rise above that challenge in these conditions. It's a pity that it's only two Test matches because if he does well, people will say it's only two Tests. If he does badly, they'll say he failed in only two Tests. That is, unfortunately, the issue."

Jennings has spotted a weakness or two, but is in no mood to help the South Africa think-tank either.

"I have seen one or two things in the last two innings," he said. "I'm sure he's good enough and Duncan Fletcher is smart enough to rectify those issues. It's unfair for me to publicly talk about those weaknesses. You know I've grown up in South Africa, and I'm very aware of what people need to do to do well here. It's incorrect for me to put it out in the media because, obviously, the South African team and people like that will try to exploit those things."

Jennings feels that, along with Cheteshwar Pujara, Kohli is going to be key to how India do in the two Tests, especially because of the vast gulf between the two bowling attacks.

"I think India do have four-five players who are key," Jennings said. "I think Pujara is good. You have [MS] Dhoni. Their batting has more key players than the bowling. In South Africa, the Indian bowling needs to step up a little bit to level the playing field, because if the South Africans prepare green wickets and exploit the Indian batting, and the Indian bowlers aren't up to scratch, they can't exploit the South African batsmen."

Kohli, a No. 3 batsman in ODIs, has been batting at No. 5 for India in the Tests. Now with Sachin Tendulkar gone, there might be a chance to move one step up. According to Jennings, it won't make much difference for Kohli as long as he doesn't move up to No. 3. If he were the coach, he would want to keep Kohli confident despite the failures in the ODIs.

"I know Virat is a very moody and confident type of player," Jennings said. "So the most important thing for him right now is to get his mind into that confident state. To make sure he feels good about himself.

"I know Virat likes hitting a lot of balls and making himself feel good. If you see him walk very confidently to the wicket, he's a very destructive player. He needs to be in that mood. And you know players get built up with performances and things like that. After a few failures, you don't feel bad about yourself, but you are not confident about your skills. A confident player can deliver his skills while an unconfident player tends to hold back and finds it difficult to score runs. That to me will be a very important thing for Virat to look at."

Asked if Kohli might have a problem with the short ball - there were moments of discomfort in the West Indies in 2011, and he has copped a blow in the ODIs here - Jennings said it was all about getting used to the pace and bounce of the short ball in South Africa.

"The short ball in India is different to the short ball in South Africa," he said. "The important thing is, Virat and all the Indian players need to come to terms with the short ball in South Africa. It's all depending on how long they spend on the wicket and get used to the pace.

"I think when you look at India, it's a type of tour where you needed to come here two or three weeks before. While India has the slowest wickets in the world, South Africa has probably the quickest wickets in the world. As an Indian group of players, they should have come here a little earlier and planned a little better, if they consistently want to perform because by the time they get used to the wickets, the tour can be finished.

Jennings noted that the Indian batsmen have been rattled a bit, but said it was not unexpected.

"If you drive a car that goes a 100 kilometres an hour, and then I put you in one that is going at 170 kph, of course, you will be rattled and be troubled till you get used to the car going at 170kph," Jennings said. "In South Africa, the wickets are quicker. You are playing on our soil, where the ball swings differently, swings quicker and moves off the wicket quicker.

"When you compare the bounce, in India you need to put the ball a lot shorter and it lollipops to you. In South Africa, you don't need to pitch it that short. It comes up to you quickly. So it's a lot more intense and the conditions need to be adapted to before people start playing competitive cricket. If not, India will always find it difficult over here. They experience and adapt to the conditions over time.They will get better and better but, by the time they are really good, the series might be finished."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • playitstraight on December 16, 2013, 18:30 GMT

    Jennings got it right when he said that Kohli needs confidence. Even Kohli said that the reason for his success has been self-belief, something he has had lacking I believe in the ODI series. He likes to go for his shots, doesn't like to be bogged down.

    And I think that's a big difference between Tendulkar and Kohli; Tendulkar would go into a shell and eventually get so uncomfortable and get out. Kohli, on the other hand, takes his time but hates to be bogged down - he'll know which bowler and ball to target. It's this ability that will be useful in South Africa. Kohli's weakness is definitely against the fast bowlers, especially Steyn and Philander who can swing it both ways and bowl the odd but very dangerous bouncer. Kohli's position is a game-changer; being four down means the batsman must play according to the situation but I feel Kohli is great in this aspect and should fare well.

  • tashan329 on December 17, 2013, 6:25 GMT

    I will only comment on Kohli after 6-7 months when he will have enough number of Tests in overseas condition....Till then I can sy he is a promosing batsman...

  • mohsin9975 on December 17, 2013, 2:56 GMT

    In India's lsat 2 foreign tours, Kohli wasnt the big prized wicket & the bowling sides targetted SRT, Dravid, Sehwag. So, he slipped under the radar & got a 100 each in at Oval & Adelaide, which were the flattest tracks of the tour. Now onwards, the big 3 r Rohit, Kohli n Pujara on foreign tours. Their techniques will now be dissected by studying their modes of dismissals

  • Nampally on December 17, 2013, 2:00 GMT

    The question of playing with confidence applies to every batsman - not just to Kohli. Familiarity with playing conditions + crowd support gives one the highest confidence in any match. If on top of it your batting form is good based on your scores during the 3 previous matches, it adds to your confidence. When the same player performs on overseas pitches, every factor is against you. How to build your confidence? Kohli & the entire Indian batting is exactly in this situation. You have to go in the middle face the opposition bowling & build your confidence bit by bit. You have to be patient & disciplined. Focus on defence, singles by pushing the ball & middling every ball. Leave away balls alone. As you build your innings your confidence & judgement of pace of the pitch increases. Then you start playing the other strokes after you get your 40+ runs. This approach is lacking in the Indian batting. Best practice & confidence builder is in the middle. That is the best practical way!

  • DaGameChanger on December 16, 2013, 18:03 GMT

    People who say Kohli is not talent are just saying that Out of Jealousy to bring him down because he is not from their favorite team. When Viv Richards says Kohli is the best man around in aggressive batting like him, there is no bigger compliment. Kohli is such a batsman he may take some time to take a start but once he finds his mojo, he is unstoppable. We saw how by the end of last Australian tour, how we was getting comfortable and knock the mouth guard of other teams. I know this tour is small so cant guarantee how will do but once he do, you better put money on him.

  • Rumy1 on December 16, 2013, 17:41 GMT

    Considering the requirements of lively tracks and the pace and bounce of South African pacers in their own backyard, skills, temperament, experience and form of Wasim Jaffer was required there. Jaffer should have been the first opener in the Test at Johannesburg. He is still easily the best Test openerin India today. Steyn, Philander and Morkel will eat Murali Vijay in the first session itself. Johannesburg is the fastest track there and not sure if even Kohli has the technique to survive the trio of Steyn, Philander and Morkel on that track. At the moment only Pujara and Rohit seem to have the technique and temperament to cope with them. Sincerely believe that Ashwin will be a big flop in the Tests in SA. Likes of Amla, Devilliers and Kallis will dominate Ashwin's average off spin skills as sadly there will not be the supporting dusty tracks of home to help him out there. Bhajji should have been there in SA for Tests but could Bhajji be there with Dhoni at the helms??Point to ponder..

  • CricketMaan on December 16, 2013, 14:35 GMT

    @lion83..do you even watch Test cricket? Kholi score a defiant 75 in Perth and 100+ in Adelaide in Test against solid pace attack in his first and only overseas Test tour especially when his team was crumbling. And add to that his 100s in ODIs in England in good seam, swinging conditions. He is yet to play that many overseas so why dont you reserve your comment until he has played enough overseas Tests.

  • CricketMaan on December 16, 2013, 14:31 GMT

    @moshin9975..i suppose your statement Kholi & co have been sitting ducks in the previous tours was not meant to be 'constructive'? Apart from Vijay, Pujara and Dhoni this bunch has not played Tests in SA and they will be tested. Kholi can look back and proudly say he handled aussies well in Perth and Adelaide in his first overseas tour with dogdy innings. Wil hold him in good stead. As for Dhawan, Rohit, Pujara and Vijay may be Rahane its massive test and very high expectations. I dont think they should be ridiculed if they fail aginast best in hostile conditions. But I will criticize them if they dont learn and perform after this tour. They still have 3 more overseas tour this year and a chance to show thier mettle.

  • mohsin9975 on December 16, 2013, 12:26 GMT

    Most fans here seem to be disturbed when this young brigade is criticised. Dey need to know dat all fans are entitled to criticise/appreciate d national team. Constructive criticism is welcome. Kohli & Co hav been sitting ducks in the ODIs & in Tests on previous SA Tour. No use fanatically backing players if they refuse to work on their technique. Arguing dat dey r world cup winners/CT 2013 champs says nothing about Tests playing ability abroad. If ODI ranking is an indicator of Test ability, why even hav separate Test rankings? SA r No.1 in Tests & India No.1 in ODIs. No denying this fact. Why do v hav to wait till SA/AUS/ENG beat us @ home to start working on tecniq to beat them on their pitches? This coming from a big indian fan

  • kingcobra85 on December 16, 2013, 10:00 GMT

    Ashwin is probably the top scorer for India with the bat, because no expert sees how good he is and hence no plans

  • playitstraight on December 16, 2013, 18:30 GMT

    Jennings got it right when he said that Kohli needs confidence. Even Kohli said that the reason for his success has been self-belief, something he has had lacking I believe in the ODI series. He likes to go for his shots, doesn't like to be bogged down.

    And I think that's a big difference between Tendulkar and Kohli; Tendulkar would go into a shell and eventually get so uncomfortable and get out. Kohli, on the other hand, takes his time but hates to be bogged down - he'll know which bowler and ball to target. It's this ability that will be useful in South Africa. Kohli's weakness is definitely against the fast bowlers, especially Steyn and Philander who can swing it both ways and bowl the odd but very dangerous bouncer. Kohli's position is a game-changer; being four down means the batsman must play according to the situation but I feel Kohli is great in this aspect and should fare well.

  • tashan329 on December 17, 2013, 6:25 GMT

    I will only comment on Kohli after 6-7 months when he will have enough number of Tests in overseas condition....Till then I can sy he is a promosing batsman...

  • mohsin9975 on December 17, 2013, 2:56 GMT

    In India's lsat 2 foreign tours, Kohli wasnt the big prized wicket & the bowling sides targetted SRT, Dravid, Sehwag. So, he slipped under the radar & got a 100 each in at Oval & Adelaide, which were the flattest tracks of the tour. Now onwards, the big 3 r Rohit, Kohli n Pujara on foreign tours. Their techniques will now be dissected by studying their modes of dismissals

  • Nampally on December 17, 2013, 2:00 GMT

    The question of playing with confidence applies to every batsman - not just to Kohli. Familiarity with playing conditions + crowd support gives one the highest confidence in any match. If on top of it your batting form is good based on your scores during the 3 previous matches, it adds to your confidence. When the same player performs on overseas pitches, every factor is against you. How to build your confidence? Kohli & the entire Indian batting is exactly in this situation. You have to go in the middle face the opposition bowling & build your confidence bit by bit. You have to be patient & disciplined. Focus on defence, singles by pushing the ball & middling every ball. Leave away balls alone. As you build your innings your confidence & judgement of pace of the pitch increases. Then you start playing the other strokes after you get your 40+ runs. This approach is lacking in the Indian batting. Best practice & confidence builder is in the middle. That is the best practical way!

  • DaGameChanger on December 16, 2013, 18:03 GMT

    People who say Kohli is not talent are just saying that Out of Jealousy to bring him down because he is not from their favorite team. When Viv Richards says Kohli is the best man around in aggressive batting like him, there is no bigger compliment. Kohli is such a batsman he may take some time to take a start but once he finds his mojo, he is unstoppable. We saw how by the end of last Australian tour, how we was getting comfortable and knock the mouth guard of other teams. I know this tour is small so cant guarantee how will do but once he do, you better put money on him.

  • Rumy1 on December 16, 2013, 17:41 GMT

    Considering the requirements of lively tracks and the pace and bounce of South African pacers in their own backyard, skills, temperament, experience and form of Wasim Jaffer was required there. Jaffer should have been the first opener in the Test at Johannesburg. He is still easily the best Test openerin India today. Steyn, Philander and Morkel will eat Murali Vijay in the first session itself. Johannesburg is the fastest track there and not sure if even Kohli has the technique to survive the trio of Steyn, Philander and Morkel on that track. At the moment only Pujara and Rohit seem to have the technique and temperament to cope with them. Sincerely believe that Ashwin will be a big flop in the Tests in SA. Likes of Amla, Devilliers and Kallis will dominate Ashwin's average off spin skills as sadly there will not be the supporting dusty tracks of home to help him out there. Bhajji should have been there in SA for Tests but could Bhajji be there with Dhoni at the helms??Point to ponder..

  • CricketMaan on December 16, 2013, 14:35 GMT

    @lion83..do you even watch Test cricket? Kholi score a defiant 75 in Perth and 100+ in Adelaide in Test against solid pace attack in his first and only overseas Test tour especially when his team was crumbling. And add to that his 100s in ODIs in England in good seam, swinging conditions. He is yet to play that many overseas so why dont you reserve your comment until he has played enough overseas Tests.

  • CricketMaan on December 16, 2013, 14:31 GMT

    @moshin9975..i suppose your statement Kholi & co have been sitting ducks in the previous tours was not meant to be 'constructive'? Apart from Vijay, Pujara and Dhoni this bunch has not played Tests in SA and they will be tested. Kholi can look back and proudly say he handled aussies well in Perth and Adelaide in his first overseas tour with dogdy innings. Wil hold him in good stead. As for Dhawan, Rohit, Pujara and Vijay may be Rahane its massive test and very high expectations. I dont think they should be ridiculed if they fail aginast best in hostile conditions. But I will criticize them if they dont learn and perform after this tour. They still have 3 more overseas tour this year and a chance to show thier mettle.

  • mohsin9975 on December 16, 2013, 12:26 GMT

    Most fans here seem to be disturbed when this young brigade is criticised. Dey need to know dat all fans are entitled to criticise/appreciate d national team. Constructive criticism is welcome. Kohli & Co hav been sitting ducks in the ODIs & in Tests on previous SA Tour. No use fanatically backing players if they refuse to work on their technique. Arguing dat dey r world cup winners/CT 2013 champs says nothing about Tests playing ability abroad. If ODI ranking is an indicator of Test ability, why even hav separate Test rankings? SA r No.1 in Tests & India No.1 in ODIs. No denying this fact. Why do v hav to wait till SA/AUS/ENG beat us @ home to start working on tecniq to beat them on their pitches? This coming from a big indian fan

  • kingcobra85 on December 16, 2013, 10:00 GMT

    Ashwin is probably the top scorer for India with the bat, because no expert sees how good he is and hence no plans

  • Harmony111 on December 16, 2013, 8:59 GMT

    @Chris_P:

    Did you see that Kohli had not played even 10 tests at that point of time? Even now, he has played only 17 tests and avgs 41 which is by no mean poor. Players like Kallis, Ponting & Clarke avgd in the 40s for much longer in their careers.

    Kohli's last 4 innings in Aus were 44, 75, 116 & 22. His 44 & 75 came on WACA & this time it was said that WACA was back to its usual fast & bouncy nature. Clearly, Kohli is a batsman who, with the slightest of acclimatization & after gaining minor experience can score 44 & 75 on the fastest wicket in the world, in only his 7th test. Now you need to back your claim that Kohli was found to be weak vs pace & bounce in Australia given that he scored 44 & 75 runs on the fastest wicket Aus can produce.

  • Lion83 on December 16, 2013, 7:51 GMT

    The only century Kohli scored in Aus is the one he scored against Sri Lanka , that was in Hobart where the pitch is a slow and low like indian pitch even Dilshan scored 150 in that match

  • Lion83 on December 16, 2013, 7:46 GMT

    Kohli is a flat track bully his record is great in subcontinent and flat pitches around the world like most of the asian batsmen. But he is awfull in fast & bouncy tracks. Unlike players like sachin, Sangakkara, Dravid. Kohli is a highly overrated batsmen. This young indian batsmen will be swept away by SA bowlers inside 3 days.

  • on December 16, 2013, 6:09 GMT

    @Aravind Sai : Hey dud, is this first time your watching cricket...you want to play sa with that weak 5 bowler pace attck...and i m sure you dont really want to bowl kohli and dhoni

  • wellrounded87 on December 16, 2013, 5:43 GMT

    These 2 test series between top nations need to be scrapped. Australia, India, England South Africa Pakistan and Sri Lanka need to be having at least 4 tests per series.

  • on December 16, 2013, 4:52 GMT

    I dont agree South Africans have already been exposed in subcontinent. Their results in India show that. They havent lost a Test Series in India since a long time. Out of 12 matches SA has played in India, India has won 5 and SA 5. Whereas out of 15 matches played in SA, SA has won 7 and India 2.

  • on December 16, 2013, 3:34 GMT

    be realistic here......as our past record suggests,,.,we havent done great here.....out current form when compared wid their current form...practically we all know what results will be...now how can we beat them.?????? we can only beat them when they come to our home.....now they way they used their conditions....we need to use our conditions even better.....south africans when tour sub continent are always exposed how well they play spun especially leg spin...we need to work on that. if they beat us here un 4 days....we need to finish them up in 3 when they come here.see s.a doesnt prepare spin friendli wickets when india visits,...why shud we prepare seam friendly wickets for them,....

  • on December 16, 2013, 1:09 GMT

    One thing is sure, they have put their Hand in the mouth of a Tiger...in for Mauling !

  • on December 16, 2013, 0:35 GMT

    These two Tests can not be anything more than testing grounds for the "new breed" Indian selectors and their chosen wards, in managing the transition from the old greats. With just two tests, it can't be anything more than that. Selectors will use this short series AND the next one against NZ, as testing grounds, and then decide upon the team for the future.

    The first major round will start only when they select a team for England later. So, let's all have some patience.

  • Chris_P on December 15, 2013, 21:27 GMT

    @couchpundit . You say you didn't see Kholi's weakness against pace in Australia? The last test in Adelaide (where he scored his century) was a slow pitch more like a sub continent pitch, the other 3 venues where some pace was about he scored 162 runs @ 27.00. And he was India's leading run scorer. That would suggest he has some problems & he won't be alone on that score either. I would suggest, Perth aside, the South African pitches will all be quicker than the other Australian venues (they didn't play in Brisbane last time). Unless some unique transformation has happened, the schedule handed to India will hamper them greatly.

  • Nampally on December 15, 2013, 19:09 GMT

    @henchart: You say the third seamer would be wasted in the Indian XI! On Johannesburg pitch, spinners will not succeed based on ODI evidence- unless it starts taking spin from Day 4. I think India will definitely go in with 3 Seamers as a minimum , most likely Shami, ZAK & Ishant. The 2 likely spinners will be Ashwin & Ojha/Jadeja . These 5 bowlers may not be great but if they keep a decent length & line on or outside the off stump, they will do well. ZAK is a clever skilful bowler & will make his mark. Indian spinners are no mugs either. So Indian bowling is not as bad as many think. The top 5 Indian batsmen are fixed with Dhoni & Ashwin #6 & 7. If India get a good start, I won't be surprised to see a total of 400. I like to see Vijay, Dhawan, Rohit, Pujara & Kohli in batting order- although MSD puts Rohit #5. This gives India a good middle order. Batting patiently with discipline should be the theme. India needs better catching & captaincy! Dhoni needs to show his leadership skills.

  • on December 15, 2013, 18:54 GMT

    honestly we need to suck it up and admit we have just been outplayed cause the pitches we have in india are totaly flat and there for the runs our indian batsman get there pretty much dont matter. and until we change the pitches at home we cant differenciate the men from the boys batting wise.

  • on December 15, 2013, 18:03 GMT

    Play all fast bowlers and see the result...

    Zaheer, Ishant, Shami, Umesh, Bhuvneswar... all should b in team for 1st test.

    Even Dhoni and Kohli should bowl...

    Dhoni should open the innings with Rohit... followed by Dhawan, Pujara and Kohli, Rayudu...

    First 12 overs... All of (Bhuvneswar, Shami, Zaheer and Ishant) should open bowling.. By that we can understand who is feeling comfortable... then we need to continue with them for some time... If we continue with 2 bowlers and if they r not comfortable enough.. SA will gain momentum.. We should not let them gain momentum.. It is very tough to Bowl to AMLA... He is technically very strong.. Same with ABDevillers..

  • roook on December 15, 2013, 17:53 GMT

    BCCI is to blame for this tour with no practice games. V kohli is not a robot he needs time to adapt to conditions. Secondly I think Indian Bowling needs confidence thet were pathetic in last 3 series. Getting hammered for 300 plus in every match is a sign of worry.

  • on December 15, 2013, 17:51 GMT

    De Ja Vu. remember the West Indies golden generation? 6 seemers who could all break your skull and all bowled to do so? Do you criticise them? arent they undoubtably the greatest Cricket team ever to play the game?

  • on December 15, 2013, 17:48 GMT

    Almost the same SA team was taught a lesson on the last tour after a first test mauling of India. They were playing in their backyard then, weren't they? Guess who did the damage - Zaheer and Sreesanth. For all his skills Jacques Kallis was undone by a brutish bouncer from Sreesanth.

    Everybody struggles against quality bowling, and Dale Steyn hasn't got his wickets with bouncers, his main weapon is swing, everyone knows that. When he gets it right Morkel will trouble anybody. And Kohli is not Raina, so don't count your chickens yet.

  • SLMaster on December 15, 2013, 17:37 GMT

    All these comments are irrelevant. India is a team with batting focused not bowling. Offer a batting track anywhere in the world and India will win. This is same with every team. Look at AUS and ENG.

  • CricLover316 on December 15, 2013, 17:14 GMT

    @ fast_gun - Huge pressure ? You mean the 2-1 recently? Yes,after playing SA for the most part of 2013.Yes. Ajmal was very good. Wouldn't say hafeez troubles anyone. He was chosen as a batsmen,but bowls and saves his place. Thats another issue. SA's are known to be bad players of spin bowling. Just compare the pitches of Ind and Pak against SA in SA,totally different. Didnt SA play Tahir in all the games against pak ? Infact,Pak helped Tahir's comeback from oblivion. Obviously SA pitches favored both(Spin & Pace) against pak. In India's case,SA knew they cant provide any help for the Ind spinners or their(SA) batsmen will struggle. They should make use of home conditions,thats good. Nobody's denying it, but playing 6 seamers(All pace pitch). Thats strange. If any team comes to Sub-Cont and teams start preparing turners from day1 and Teams from SC play 5-6 spinners in a team,they will surely be criticized for making a mockery of the game by preparing such a pitch. Thats the point

  • S.Jagernath on December 15, 2013, 16:43 GMT

    The BCCI is to blame for India's lack of practice games.How can inexperienced players be expected to perform with no exposure to these conditions in a longer format?Virat Kohli with all his talent,he isn't the right man for the #4.Rohit Sharma bats wonderfully with the tail & should remain at #6.Ajinkya Rahane with a background of batting up the order might be the ideal #4 for India.A 2-test series is really unfortunate.

  • topspeed55 on December 15, 2013, 16:38 GMT

    As far as Kohli is concerned I am not to worried its too early to conclude or question his form. He knows how to get in the flow. Only worry is India's pace bowling If you keep selecting Ishant Sharma despite terrible performances goes to show how limited pace option we have in India. What happened to Munaf Patel, Ashish Nehra, Praveen Kumar, and RP Singh Who is grooming or giving confidence to them that there is still a chance. I still feel if Nehra had got the number of chances that Vinay Kumar got I think things would have been little different.

  • DingDong420 on December 15, 2013, 16:38 GMT

    To all the naysayers. India play probably 75% of their cricket in sub continental conditions.

    Of course its going to take time to adjust to foreign conditions, personally the SA tour is a write off, but it will be interesting to see how the team then fairs in NZ and England.....

    As for all the non Indian fans....what have your teams got to shout about?

  • fast_gun on December 15, 2013, 16:34 GMT

    @AamirKhan-SuperStar, Ask any Australian about the pitches that was cooked up for the recently completed tour they had in India where bowling was completely taken out of the game. The Durban pitch was conducive for spin as was the one in Centurion. Conditions differ from ground to ground, Ajmal and Hafeez adapted to the conditions beautifully, and put South Africa under huge pressure.

  • on December 15, 2013, 16:34 GMT

    One thing is sure, they have put their Hand in the mouth of a Tiger...in for Mauling !

  • on December 15, 2013, 16:32 GMT

    India need to cultivate green tops and pitches in certain high altitude places in Indai where batsmen can practise throughout the year. History repeats itself and they need to realise that you cannot adjust and cope to playing on tracks that resemble nothing in India. Hope the BCCI will acknowledge this fact instead of just sending teams abroad without much match practise in foreign conditions. Technology can emulate those tracks in their own country.

  • on December 15, 2013, 16:30 GMT

    Who doesn't need confidence? To do well! What a "big deal" finding!

  • AamirKhan-SuperStar on December 15, 2013, 16:12 GMT

    Though India is stronger in India than abroad but one thing is for sure in Indian conditions both teams have an equal chance to win, fast bowlers get swing on first days, spinners get turn, batsmen enjoy batting. Don't you think if a home team plays 6 fast bowlers in an ODI it means the conditions are a little unfair and produce non competitive cricket. I am not saying teams shouldn't enjoy home conditions, but if India produces a turner and play 6 spin bowlers, will the world then say how unfair it is?

  • on December 15, 2013, 16:06 GMT

    Don't fear or don't give up, is the key to success on those pitches. People got scared even if they seems cool from outside.

  • henchart on December 15, 2013, 16:06 GMT

    @ChetanAsher: I guess Zak ought not be benched or else the purpose of his inclusion gets defeated.Hope he justifies it with his performance.I am not sure if both Jadeja and Ashwin would find a place in XI ,knowing MSD's choices.He would,in all probability ,pack the side with 6 batsmen which would mean Rahane getting the nod at Jadeja's expense .Ishant /Yadav ,Zak and Kumar would comprise the pace trio and again Ojha would miss the bus. SA batsmen are going to treat the medium pace as fodder anyways so why feed them more of it?SA are vulnerable to genuine spin and Ojha,Ashwin and Jadeja can prove handful if employed relentlessly.Spin has been India's strength wonder why it is not being used more in SA,Eng and AUS conditions.

  • on December 15, 2013, 15:57 GMT

    I think India doing a blunder by not picking Pujara for one day international as now he will straight away going to face Stain and company in the test. So it is quite difficult for him to play his natural game specially in the first test and if he fails we can't complain. As far as other players are concerned only Virat and MSD may provide some solodarity Dhavan is a natural stroke maker and it is difficult for him to play his stroke straight away, so he pust be patient initially and try to built a partnetship with vijay. Also this a very short series due to this by the time the indian used to the piches and the bowlers the series will be over. But at the same time we must be optimistic that Indians play well.

  • ferzil927 on December 15, 2013, 15:53 GMT

    only in indian flat tracks kohli,dhoni & co.. are legends. they cant bat in good pitches in SA,Aus etc... poor batmens out of india.they chased down 300+ twice in india but in SA they couldnt. media makes them legends not the performances.

  • Iceman29 on December 15, 2013, 15:48 GMT

    @yoohoo: Buddy if you go by age then Zaheer is 35 why was he included in the team?? its the experience counts here....If Zak is included then why not Wasim????Wasim is a solid opener with tons of experience..He dint get even 25% of chance what Raina and others are getting now...What we need now is batsmen with good technique and the patience to bat long hours....If you remove the players or exclude the players based on the age well you can see the results for yourself....I would say even try Tambe....right now we have spinners who cant spin the ball and fast bowlers who cant bowl fast....

  • fast_gun on December 15, 2013, 15:35 GMT

    For months I have read comments on here stating that because India is the world champions and they have the self proclaimed title of "best batting lineup" they would murder this South African side. Particularly when South Africa and Pakistan were playing in the UAE both teams could not get over 250 totals. The fans directly belittle all other teams, and the players (barring dhoni whom I quite like) have such smug and cocky attitudes they can never congratulate a team for playing better cricket then themselves. This is why we have a new term called "india bashers." Even if they had come 2 months in advance and had 5 practice matches I don't think the results would have been much different, perhaps the losses wouldn't of been as bad. Who's fooling who? They need to learn humility and play the gentleman's game with respect like the great SRT did. cricinfo pls publish!

  • on December 15, 2013, 15:26 GMT

    Im very cautious at pointing fingers at Indian Cricket players because they undoubtably have talent. I feel the blame lies squarlly with The BCCI. Before all you Indian fans crack the whip on me hear me out. Im South African and will usr our own players and administration as an example. South Africa always had good players but never made an impact big enough to strike fear on the likes of Australia and India. Always the 3rd best Test Team. After the retirement of the likes of Gary Kirsten, Alan Donald, Shaun Pollock, Paul Adams just to name a few...they all went into coaching. With the exception of Paul Adams(who is the coach of current SA champions The Cobras), all these former teamates are or have been involved with our current National Team. The Convenor of Selectors is arguebly one of the greatest wicket keepers we had. Ray Jennjngs was a former SA wicket keeper aswell turned Coach. These guys took South Africa to the summit of Test Cricket, ODI and T20 cricket while teams like Australia dealt with retiring players. This was done by understanding circumstances and player management. BCCI organisers Indian matches to be played in India, so India win in India. WC was in India and India was awesome...on Indian pitches. Young players are thus developed on Indian pitches and conditions and not exposed to other enviroments. IPL is in India so they dont need to play elsewhere in the shorter formats. As soon as youbtake all this wealth of batting talent outside india and expose them to Southern Hemisphere hostile bowlers and pitches they will naturally struggle. do you still blame the young players?

  • El_Toro_Loco on December 15, 2013, 15:18 GMT

    As soon as Kohli is back in india his confidence will return until then Kohli & other indian batters are walking wickets for any pacers for SA. Indian fans should write him off along with all other media-hyped hollow batters. Ciao

  • on December 15, 2013, 14:56 GMT

    @henchart, Dhoni will probably play 5 bowlers ....I can't see Ashwin being dropped. Also the lack of preparation in SA conditions virtually eliminates the difference between Jadeja & Rahane. Which means Jadeja & Ashwin will almost definitely be in the 11. I would expect a minimum of 3 quicks (anything less in SA would be suicidal). Zak, Shami & Ishant / Yadav would be my choice, I will let Dhoni decide for himself. So the combination in the 11 will probably be - 5 batsmen: Dhawan, Vijay, Pujara, Kohli & Sharma. Dhoni & 5 bowlers: Jadeja, Ashwin, Shami, Zaheer & Ishant / Yadav. Zaheer may be past his best as a bowler himself, but if he can get the other 2 quicks to bowl at their best, he would have done his job. To do that, Zaheer has to be in the 11.

  • OttawaRocks on December 15, 2013, 14:33 GMT

    To get an idea of what kind of expectations to hold for our Indian team, one should look up the batting records of Tendukar, Dravid, Ganguly, Laxman, Azharuddin and Sehwag on each of their first ever SA tours. Do the same for the bowling records of Kumble, Khan, Srinath, Harbhajan on each of their first ever SA tours. Why? Because I have likely quoted you arguably India's best ever team (by individual) to have toured SA and it would be curious to see how all of them did on their first ever tours to SA. By far, you will notice that most of them did poorly although I admit that Sehwag did well and Kumble and Srinath did so-so. My point is it would thus be reasonable to expect a lesser team (such as who we have touring today) to do even worse! That is why I am expecting SA to win 2-0.

  • couchpundit on December 15, 2013, 14:32 GMT

    Indian bowlers are no show ...even bhuvaneshwar who seems to be a thinking bowler has not learnt the length in 3 matches despite the inputs from support staff. Agreed he does not have pace...but you can definitely trouble batsmen with good line and length. Hopefully Umesh is sent back to india(not sure he is in test squad)...Guy has no intent to bowl fast...if he cant bowl fast why is he there? Shammi and Zaheer can keep up pressure form one end...my worry is Ishant...who is the most confused bowler in world cricket...He generates pace for one delivery in a spell and bowls flat after that. Unless indian bowlers ask questions to SAF batsmen....this series is already over, Dhoni can as well play all spin attack.

  • couchpundit on December 15, 2013, 14:24 GMT

    I am surprised Ray Jenning says Kohli has weakness against Pace bowling...i did not see any such thing in Australia(may be because apart from Ashwin rest of the indian team were bundled for less than 50 runs every time).....Kohli being kohli will learn his lessons fast and make fist of rest of the oppportunities...i cant say the same for rest of the indian team apart from pujara and may be ashwin. Rohit Sharma and Dhoni will be under the gun among the lesser players in Indian Team...But i do expect Ashwin to show some rear guard action given his performance in Australian pacy wickets.

  • on December 15, 2013, 14:03 GMT

    It will be tough for Dhoni to chose his team specially the fast bowlers...lets hope that the present crop can deliver.

  • on December 15, 2013, 14:01 GMT

    @yohoo. why look for next year, when the need is today.

  • sujan33 on December 15, 2013, 13:43 GMT

    i have read in the comments in many articles about how all of indias batting vulnerable and how indias hope is only pujara, seeing his records he has played all but two matches in india and the two matches in SA he hasnt scored, so i think pujara is as good as kholi,rohit or any other batsman for that matters in SA

  • on December 15, 2013, 13:11 GMT

    Don't worry. Kohli will find out a way .ie, if he already has not to counter the SA attack. He has proven his mettle in places such as the WACA. He will also prove himself in SA. Should not read too much into performances in two ODIs.

  • straightfromheart on December 15, 2013, 13:08 GMT

    The Term " acclimatize" cannot be just expected to happen in few days.A long term solution to these kind of fast bowling would necessitate the BCCI to instruction of preparation of tracks with bounce and good grass along with spinner friendly track they presently have. while in domestic season, they should encourage the players to play on both kind of surfaces and this also forces the bowlers( spinners and seamers alike) to adjust and know to bowl accordingly, they can play test matches in India on spinner friendly tracks( just like SA preparing a surface to suit fast bowlers alone). India would also need to find a good wrist spinner who can spin the ball a good mile and has good control and is also good fielder ( pl do not mention Rahul sharma or mishra).One of the icons of cricket Steve Waugh is not a great player of short ball but he was smart enough to not let the bowler exploit it against him and mad the bowl to his strengths.

  • on December 15, 2013, 12:56 GMT

    indian team will be back

  • henchart on December 15, 2013, 12:54 GMT

    MSD is basically a good back foot player which explains his ability to handle short stuff better than rest of his team mates. Pujara has soild technique and Dhawan is a gifted strokeplayer.Kohli is notch above Sharma, Vijay and Rahane but needs to spend some time in the middle.Indians need to break the test session by session.But as someone here pointed out ,bowling arsenal is pathetic.Over the hill Zaheer Khan can be least expected to win matches against formidable line up of Smith,De Villiers,Amla ,Kallis etc .Playing 3 seamers would be a waste.Better attack RSA with couple of genuine spinners and Jadeja.But would Dhoni bite the bullet and play 5 batsmen Plus himself and 5 bowlers? Unlikely.Dhawan,Sharma,Vijay,Pujara,Kohli,Dhoni,Jadeja,Ashwin,Khan,Kumar/Shami,Ojha should be the line up.Either ways the 6 th Batsman or 3 rd Seamer would be wasted .

  • stormy16 on December 15, 2013, 12:40 GMT

    Is this guy actually saying anything? We all know playing on Indian wickets and SA wickets are two different things and the stats alone support that. I also dont see why we need to have this discussion everytime in detail, sub-continetal players will struggle in seam bounce wickets, that' just stating the obvious. In my opinion Kholi is something special and if there was no Sachin and Dravid, we would be saying Kholi is it and in one day cricket, he could still be it. I also think he can handle the short ball better than Indians before him (could be wrong as I havent really seen alot - Gavaskar for example is an obvoious exception) but I am stating this on how well he plays the hook and pull. I think he could be the first generatlon of Indians who (in time) will prove their worth in SA/Aus wickets.

  • on December 15, 2013, 12:21 GMT

    chosse kohli but matches should be in india lolss.. best batsman in the india

  • matchfixerpkn on December 15, 2013, 11:48 GMT

    what may be the pitch , condition , bowling attack ..any thing..fi the match is final or semi final ...if I have choice between amla or ABD or cook or naser jamshad or kohli..I will pick kohli...

  • Raihan-Tigers on December 15, 2013, 11:36 GMT

    You can overall count Indian batting but bowling is zero with Zahir could be 1+

  • on December 15, 2013, 11:26 GMT

    Speaking of temperament - just remember the 4-0 loss to Aussies - Dravid, VVS, Viru, Gambhir all failed - he was the only one who stood up and scored the only century from India. He needs to be reminded to keep calm - If the openers are the feet then Pujara, Rohit and Kohli are the back bone of Indian batting. Openers will have to give a solid start on which the team can stand. Rahane should get a chance. Shikhar should not be too casual - this is serious bowling attack - better than Aus. And Eng.

  • BVNaresh on December 15, 2013, 11:24 GMT

    We do not know a Jennings ro say all this.Let him do his role.As far as Test series is concerned,2-0 to SA is a foregone conclusion.It is a question of whether this team has the spike to stretchthe test matchest to atleast 4th day.That itself would be a massive achievement.BVNaresh

  • cricket.wolf on December 15, 2013, 11:21 GMT

    This is funny. South Africans will chok again in big matches. Let them win couple of low Profile matches. and they will taste dust again. After winning 2 matches, Africans think they are the best but they are best Chokers. About Indians weakness and all that, they just dont do justice to themselves, you got to come early and adapt to the pitches. Indians batsmen are the best in the world. Tbey recently won the world Cup in India and Icc Odi Championship in England. What were africans were doing at that time?

  • on December 15, 2013, 11:15 GMT

    Good player only in his home conditioned cannot be treated as a good player..

  • yorkslanka on December 15, 2013, 11:10 GMT

    Despite personally not liking the guy's attitude, i cant understand why people are querying the abilities of Kohli? He is a wonderful talent and i am sure that he will do great things for India, given the chance..Come on guys, he is still only a youngster so give him some chance..as the nick suggests, from a Sri Lankan..

  • yoohoo on December 15, 2013, 11:05 GMT

    @Iceman29 - Wasim Jaffer is 36yrs old. What is the use of playing him, if he is not going to be in the team even next year? And Jaffer got enough chances when he was young. He played 31 tests and had an avg of 34. Murali Vijay has an avg of 38 in 18 tests, and he is 29yrs old. Give these guys a break!

    @CricfanAustralia - Really? Gambhir and Sehwag. Can you tell me how much they scored in Eng and Aus last year? Can you tell me what gambhir did in county cricket this year? or what sehwag did in ranji this year.

  • Wajahat.Afaq on December 15, 2013, 11:05 GMT

    Kohli and entire Indian team just need a home soil for making Mount Everest of runs, this is a bitter reality

  • on December 15, 2013, 10:49 GMT

    Jennings has raised some good points here. The first is the fact that the tour is too short. There should have been at least 3 tests. 2 test series are too less, especially for these two teams.

    Secondly, the new crop of Indian batsmen have become too used to playing on flat tracks and these conditions will almost certainly trouble them a lot. To add to the conditions, the South African pace attack is also excellent. Other than the 2010/11 series, India had always struggled in South Africa. Even batsmen as great as Dravid enjoyed little success there. Tendulkar had a good series for the first time in that tour.

    About Kohli - he has been exceptional in ODIs in the last 3 or 4 years, but he is still unproven in the longer version. His technique and style are more suited to limited overs cricket, if you ask me. He might improve in the future, though. I feel the man to look out for will be Pujara. He is a class act and has the patient and temperament for Test Cricket.

  • on December 15, 2013, 10:36 GMT

    2-0 to south Africa. india have a weak batting and bowling attack.

  • on December 15, 2013, 9:31 GMT

    he may get his confidence back when playing in India :)

  • jango_moh on December 15, 2013, 9:18 GMT

    too much has been made of just two odi matches.... this is a young team, nobody expects them to thrash the current inform SA side.... i wud wait for them to show their mettle this year in multiple tours abroad, and then judge them.... interesting how non-indian fans just attack these young indian batsmen every chance they get... every team is winning on home tracks, and losing in away matches.... so give these guys also some time to adjust....

  • on December 15, 2013, 8:29 GMT

    Kohli has made scores of 44, 100 and 75 in australia. I am not sure what you guys are going on about. There could definitely be few other players playing right now, like Jaffer and pujara in tests. Our selection process has always been rifled with favours, favourites and business decisions, also regionalism. But that is what something we have to contend with.

  • dmqi on December 15, 2013, 8:04 GMT

    His batting average suggests he is a top class batsman but this tour will tell his true class. A class player like Amla should prove everywhere and against all types of bowlers. We are waiting to see how Kholi proves in tests. How confidence is lost in 2 matches and will revive in next two?

  • Herath-UK on December 15, 2013, 7:58 GMT

    There is a tendency to overhype & he is not even nominated for the ODI award recently let not win it (which Sanga won handsomely).When too much pressure is mounted on young shoulders by the media it becomes difficult to cope. He came to SA with so much high scoring on home tracks & now finds hard to deal with high expectancy. Ranil Herath - Kent

  • on December 15, 2013, 7:37 GMT

    I think two ODI's would not influence performance in two test matches. India is capable of reversing the 2-0 equation to surprise the hosts very soon. hikush...

  • CricfanAustralia on December 15, 2013, 6:56 GMT

    Kohli has very poor stats in Test cricket. I dont know how selectors have trusted him by just seeing his one or two performances. Its the right time to bring back Sehwag and Gambhir. Shikhar dhawan is also enjoying abroad, he too is waste in the squad.

  • DaisonGarvasis on December 15, 2013, 6:39 GMT

    I dont know what Jennings wants to achieve by this statement but, Kohli is in a good spot. Yes this will be a big examination but Kohli has it in him to come through. Dont read much in to the ODI's, India is gonna show up for Tests.

  • Naresh28 on December 15, 2013, 6:37 GMT

    INDIAN batsman generally dont practice against fast bowlers in India. There are few fast bowlers. They are thrown into middlie and lack confidence. As said by many fans - it is up to BCCI to make the pitches to encourage this. The best can then emerge both bowlers and batsman.

  • Iceman29 on December 15, 2013, 5:52 GMT

    we need pople like Wasim jaffer with instead of players like M.Vijay who will definitely not last for two overs in test matches...opening partnership is very important in these conditions...Kohli should learn to respect good deliveries if he want to survive in these tracks...India is being even more crippled since the one and only practice match is also washed away...

  • on December 15, 2013, 5:51 GMT

    @ Waqas Mustafa, Here are some of his other scores...Hopefully, They Refurbish some of your knowledge somewhat:

    http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/463153.html

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/463150.html

    http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/518952.html

    http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/518953.html

  • TommytuckerSaffa on December 15, 2013, 5:35 GMT

    The interesting thing for me is that MSD looks so much more comfortable against fast bowling than other so called top line batsman. Why is that? Did he grow up playing and practicing his cricket in a different part of India? Maybe somewhere that has slightly more seam friendly tracks?

  • on December 15, 2013, 5:35 GMT

    Till kohlis confidence comes back india would already have gone 2-0 in tests after 3-0 in odis. Replace him with confident inform wasim jaffer.

  • India2014 on December 15, 2013, 5:33 GMT

    I found the reason for India's struggle in South Africa. It is not the batsmen who are failing, it is the bowlers. South African condition need bowlers to bowl more than 140 speed and bowl short. So all we need is 3 more Shami. Also No assistance to spin. In SA 200 is a good score. SA batsmen are not that great. Indian bowlers don't know how to bowl in this condition.

  • on December 15, 2013, 5:23 GMT

    Is one match where Kohli scored 133 enough to decide that he is a good player abroad? That too against SL, Kohli's highest scores were 133 and 66 both against SL in that series. Let me tell you his scores in the matches he played against Australia: 34 balls 31 runs against Aus at MCB 28 balls 18 runs against Aus at Adelaide 25 balls 12 runs against Aus at Brisbane 27 balls 21 runs against Aus at Sydney

    Impressive right? That's how he played 4 matches against Australia and you tell me he can perform abroad regarding one century that he scored against SL? I'd rather not make bizarre statements based on a single century in Australia and whenever someone talks about Kohli, everyone gives the reference of the ONE century he scored against SL in Australia. No one talks about the rest of the scores he made, why not?

  • fayyaz03 on December 15, 2013, 5:13 GMT

    Some of the weaknesses of Kohli : 1) Short ball Problem on Quick wickets 2) Disrespect for the bowlers and good deliveries as he try to go after most of them 3) When he forward defences, he pushes rather than blocking and that was one of the main reason of his failure against Junaid Khan 4)Still have not got perfect in deciding what to play and what to leave 5) Not using his backfoot much against quickies for playing it late. He is a great front foot player but this may become your weakness as once I heard that Wasim Akram always tried to bring the batsman on front Foot and make him play the drive and ultimately get out. Just Check the averages of Mohd Yousuf and Hashim Amla in England. They both are great players on Backfoot.

  • on December 15, 2013, 5:13 GMT

    KOhli is mere average in tests. I fear his career will end up with excellent ODI record and average test record like Saurav Ganguly.

  • on December 15, 2013, 5:12 GMT

    Jennings says if Kohli has a weakness it is against quick bowling.. As if there are 10 different types of bowling. I know of only three-quick medium and slow.

    In both the ODIs he was snared by medium pace all rounders.. In the 1st ODI he look in good shape against Steyn.

    And those who think Pujara is the future of India cricket well he is but he alone isn't. If India has to do well then a lot is dependent on agressive bats like Kohli, Rohit (by test standards he is quiet aggressive) and Dhawan.. And agression doesn't mean strike rate necessarily.. It mean ability to attack with 4s and 6 s..That really puts pressure on bowlers since they realize that the batter is looking to put them to sword.

  • Sir_Ivor on December 15, 2013, 5:09 GMT

    henchart, I would like to mention that each batsman in the world approaches a particular ball in the way he has grown used to because of type of pitches he has played most often upon. So if you see Australian batsmen play on the WACA pitch at Perth as if it is so easy it is because they have played on that strip so often in their professional careers. So for anyone who has the basic batting skills it is just the question of getting used to the bounce of the pitches. In the olden days, teams used to come early on tour so that the the players get accustomed and so,better prepared.The idea was to even out the sides to have a competitive series. Now winning is all that matters. That explains why India were given such short preparation time in England in 2011. England were in their quest for the No 1 ranking. The point to remember is that the Indian batsmen are very very skillful. It is just that they have had such little preparation as Jennings says.

  • Keithnkin on December 15, 2013, 4:29 GMT

    Should we be talking about more exposure when the guy already has 20 tests and 125 ODIs under his belt ? I think he is just going through a bad patch, thats all. No one player can continue to score well in every single game.

  • nilaksh on December 15, 2013, 4:24 GMT

    These South African bowlers are green top bullies. They can't do squat when conditions don't favor them, like when they have to bowl in the subcontinent.

  • henchart on December 15, 2013, 4:11 GMT

    @CricIndia208:What are you talking about?Current Indian side can spend a year in RSA but still wont be able to handle the likes of Steyn,Philander and Morkel there.Barring MSD and to less extent Dhawan ,Pujara the rest are technically deficient to handle quality pace on bouncy strips.Rahane,Sharma and Vijay are ill at ease against rising and moving red cherry.Kohli always seems to tie himself up in tests unlike in ODI's.MSD has got to come 3 down instead of shirking responsibility at 5 down and pottering with tail to remain unbeaten and strengthen his average at the expense of his team.How much India is going to miss SRT, RD and VVS would soon be evident .

  • straightfromheart on December 15, 2013, 4:04 GMT

    All these talk about India players not being able play short stuff is being blown too long. for none is damn good playing short stuff. it is just about playing good on that day. even England suffered in ashes from short stuff from Johnson, they are not a sub continent side. if you have to play fast bowling or spin blowing alike, one needs to practice better for the tour and be prepared to apply himself and bring the game to ones strength. My suggestion for the Indian team for the tests would be age old and traditional Technic "Tire and Attack". We still have players who can simple occupy the crease and players who once set can attack.Tire the SA bowlers, Make them bowl to your lengths and scrore as many singles, twos and not just boundaries.The bowlers simply need to bowl to their field and make the batsman play for a shot he wouldn't normally.Good Luck India team. Don't mind u guys losing as long as u give Ur best

  • Y.Kumar on December 15, 2013, 3:59 GMT

    Indian batsmen hve to follow the srategy of wait and hit the correct ball attitude. The bowlers should study the bounce and the attitude of the opponent batsman and bowl accordingly to succeed.

  • nani9112345 on December 15, 2013, 3:22 GMT

    SA in SA, not a chance. They have everything that a cricket team need. On a bad day they might loose a ODI to India (in SA, different story when played in India) but I (who follow Indian cricket) genuinely think we don't have a chance in Test (india nor SA). Nightmare ahead :(.

  • wake_up_india on December 15, 2013, 3:15 GMT

    It beats me why India cannot prepare a few fast bouncy pitches back home, so that their players can get a variety of experiences. They don't have to play international matches there, which can continue to be played on square turners, unless Monty is around.

  • on December 15, 2013, 1:37 GMT

    It's unfair to expect India to win ! I won't expect them to win even if they had played 3 practice games ahead of the test series. Now without any I just wish we don't get humiliated. It's going to be a walk in the park for SA. But this team is different and young from the 8-0 team and so I wish they learn valuable lessons at the end of the tour and use it in future tours ! And this can be a chance to keep the overrated players like Sharma grounded. They ll know what real cricket is all about !

  • on December 15, 2013, 0:50 GMT

    2-Match series provide no learning (nothing solid; except exposing your weak spots). The results from such matches, in alien conditions, has no meaning either (except proving that you will know your weaknesses; with no time to correct them - with no real measure of the calibre of the team and its players. Most teams struggle in alien conditions is already known ; it doesn't need a 2-match meaningless sample to prove it).

    The fighting administrators from both sides, can get a pseudo-satisfaction the "Oh, good the series was "successfully" arranged and done" And, enjoy a peg or two,in the evenings of the matches (totally oblivious of the mental state of the players and their ardent fans, and hopefully in the evenings of their careers.

  • johnathonjosephs on December 15, 2013, 0:18 GMT

    Guys, you need to understand. Kohli has mainly been playing on subcontinent tracks (india/WC/sri lanka, etc). He is not quality enough to be playing in South Africa against quality attack. What has he achieved outside the subcontinent? A century against Sri Lanka in Hobart (flat pitch that day as the sri lankans made 340 themselves easily) or a test century against Australia on the day the wicket was the flattest? I am more interested in watching the real future of Indian Cricket: Pujara. Pujara will be the one man who can stop the South Africans, and I believe he is the man to do it

  • on December 15, 2013, 0:14 GMT

    @Nampally Agree with the thoughts 100%. The batsmen should curb their natural instincts and try to survive and occupy the crease as much as they can. Leave deliveries outside off stump, wait for the ones on the pads. India should try and take the game to the 5th day and put pressure on south africa. Let the south africa boys earn their victory.

  • BnH1985Fan on December 15, 2013, 0:01 GMT

    OK, wickets/pitches are all different across countries we all agree. Why can't we create different wickets (even if we don't use them for the real deal) and have the big boys practice on them .. in today's day/age, all this is easily possible. I realize we can't create "match conditions", but getting out to short stuff because your country's wickets didn't support those conditions should be negated somehow? Naïve Observer

  • on December 14, 2013, 23:44 GMT

    India and the BCCI needs to employ Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar/ Rahul Dravid as ''Batting consultant's ''

  • on December 14, 2013, 23:29 GMT

    india is good only on indian pitches they cannot face fast hostile bolwing in south Africa or Australia look what is happening to England team currenctly in Australia their best batsmen take 35 balls to score the first single. jonnson is super fast and accurate this current indian team will fail miserably if they tour Australia test cricket is a high standard not 20/20 just swing bat

  • on December 14, 2013, 23:24 GMT

    Asian batsman always struggle against pace and bounce, everyone knows that. Indian bowling needs to show some back bone here. They should exploit bowling conditions and put south African batting in check.

  • Al_Bundy1 on December 14, 2013, 23:08 GMT

    Agree with @by Yogi108 - Ray Jennings is absolutely right, India needed to have spent 2-3 weeks in SA to get used to the wickets. But then how would the BCCI have given an aging player well past his prime a manufactured royal send-off in front of adoring, mindless crowds? And who cares how the Indian team does in the "real" world: the IPL circus will be here in a few months and then all will be forgotten.....For the record, I am a (disappointed) supporter of the Indian team.

  • shan_abc on December 14, 2013, 22:47 GMT

    Kohli needs "humility". Not "Confidence". He is a gifted batsman. He'll do fine as a batsmen on the long run. Wonder why people start analyzing things after just couple of failures. Nobody can keep getting 50s and 100s every innings. Sooner or later, life deals out rough hands.

  • on December 14, 2013, 21:12 GMT

    I don't think Virat or any other Indian batsmen should fall for this and try to play their natural game. They should survive and bat as long as possible. Take the game hour by hour, leave as much deliveries as possible, pick the loose ones. Try and take the game till the 5th day. Half the battle is won if we take the game to the fifth day.

  • on December 14, 2013, 21:10 GMT

    India is going to play without their Legend batsmen first time after 1996. Azhar. Ganguly. Laxman. Sehwag. Dravid and Tendulkar all are retired now.

    This is now time to show patience with new players because it's not easy to replace those legend players.

    This is big test for MS Dhoni that how he play test cricket without legends. All eyes on inexperience batting line up which is capable of doing well in any conditions.

  • on December 14, 2013, 20:26 GMT

    its south africa playing in their pitches, pitches there are not dead on which could be possible for dale styn to score 200 in one day

  • TommytuckerSaffa on December 14, 2013, 20:25 GMT

    Over-rated flat track batsman - now officially proven.

  • Testcricketistop on December 14, 2013, 20:11 GMT

    Being world champions in one format has little do to with competing in anohter format.

    SA is number one in tests, they have a superior record to India and India are playing in conditions not suited to them.

    The challenge will be tough, forget about the media hype of being World champions in OdI's

    It isn't going to help you here.

  • Kover_Drive on December 14, 2013, 19:57 GMT

    @Anand Palwankar, according to your stats, Cricket results are very predictable and should not be followed as only the home teams are winning.

    On a different note, ICC should revise its' ranking and solely base it on bigger tournaments involving more than two teams. In that case, India should remain on the top after winning Champions Trophy in England and Tr-Series in WI.

  • TellasisPatel on December 14, 2013, 19:54 GMT

    Virat Kohli is a good and fast learner. He plays for the team, keeping teams need foremost in his mind. When Rohit Sharma started the innings too slowly for an ODI, Virat tried to speed up the run rate and while doing so lost his wicket. Test matches are played differently. He will not be under that kind of pressure, and it is very likely that he will again play excellent inning(s). I wish best of luck to Virat and the Indian team. Enjoy playing cricket in South Africa and win!

  • diehardINDIANcricketfan on December 14, 2013, 19:54 GMT

    I just feel he is playing more of straight bat which is very tough in these conditions. I guess he should try something different something related to cross bating more often. he is a champ and he will be whatever the conditions are

  • CricIndia208 on December 14, 2013, 19:47 GMT

    India are the world champions and the winners of the champions trophy. They will definitely win, they just need some time to acclimatise. Look at the number of warm up games England are playing. India directly drove to the stadium from the airport. As for Kohli, he is the best young batsman in the world. Look at the way he took apart Malinga and the Sri Lankan bowlers in Hobart or Ajmal and the Pakistani bowlers in Dhaka. BCCI need to schedule warm up games whenever India tours South Africa, England or Australia. This is not like playing Sri Lanka, India beats them anytime. Practice is required to take on South Africa.

  • Indianphoenix20 on December 14, 2013, 19:39 GMT

    Its not the fault of the Indian cricket team. After playing on flat Indian wickets for the last 1 year they cant be expected to turn up on the bouncy wickets of SA and start performing from day one. Its the scheduling which has always been a problem. The team should have ideally not played the last minute WI tour and instead gone to SA atleast 2 weeks in advance and played atleast 3-4 practice games. When we know overseas performances are not easy to come by then why not prepare for it. Just to make a few extra bucks the administrators dont mind selling the team out. Its not players who need to be changed bt honest administrators need to be brought in to replace these corrupt politicians running the show currently.

  • on December 14, 2013, 19:31 GMT

    It's sad that due to some ego clashes between the two boards( or rather the high-headedness of BCCI), young players like kohli, shikhar and rohit are unable to get enough match practice. Now everyone who's just looking for a reason to hate the Indian team will be up in arms criticizing these guys. As a true supporter of this young Indian side, I just want to say to all these people is that kohli is just 25 years old and there's a long way to go! Is it a bad thing that in the meanwhile he has performed exceptionally well in home conditions. Is it his fault that his cricket board looks to score cheap points over others and does not care about their performances. Or is the hatred because of his attitude? Which I believe has started to improve a lot over the years. No one says a thing about Clarke's attitude when he abused Anderson. Rather, he was awarded with two big ICC awards!!

  • Nampally on December 14, 2013, 19:28 GMT

    Disciplined batting with lot of patience is the key to Indian batting. Kohli got out both the times playing at the balls well outside the off stump & edging them & not getting behind the ball. SA pacers attack with bouncers on or outside off stump. It is important all Indian batsmen to leave those balls alone till they get their eye IN. Unlike in ODI's there is no hurry to score of each ball. Jennings rightly says that the ball comes much quicker of the pitch in SA. So the reaction time is less. With greater bounce it becomes risky cutting the ball or play horizontal bat strokes on the off. You can always accelerate the scoring once you are set & judged the pace of the wkt. Pujara & Vijay, both playing their first match, must make a special note of it. Dhawan & Kohli perished trying cuts. Rohit played well but was unlucky on both innings. There is batting strength & talent in the Indian team which can only be exploited with patience. Has the team collectively got that discipline in it?

  • cchhat01 on December 14, 2013, 19:27 GMT

    @HassanDanial: Kohli needs to channel his aggression and assert the playing conditions well. Kohli has hammered the SriLankans inAustralia at Hobart (http://www.espncricinfo.com/commonwealth-bank-series-2012/engine/current/match/518966.html) so he can destroy the oppostion, he just needs to channel it. This series is way too short to get used to the conditions. Series needs 5 ODIs and 3 tests to be considerd a proper series, this one is a joke.

  • on December 14, 2013, 19:01 GMT

    Kohli needs Indian wickets to perform. his confidence will be back. he will mostly be a zero away but a star at home. just like the usual indian players ( leaving out stars like SRT and MSD.

  • on December 14, 2013, 18:46 GMT

    Friends, why are you shouting so -vely for India ? It is but natural for every player a bit struggle in overseas condition. Evrybody is watching what Englad & WI are struggling the same way. WI won easily with the same opponents in their home series & same happened in last ashes in England. Can anybody predict De Cock will perform same in India againnst same Ashwin & Jadeja ? What happened to Steyn in last IPL when his countryman Devilliers hit 27 runs in one over for RCB ? So what India is having hard time is a just part of the game. I m sure, Our heros Shikhar, Virat & Rohit must be working hard for test series. In ODIs definately nobody among these 3, threw their wickets or scared of bouncers of SA bowlere. Its only lack of practice games which should have been there before ODIs. This is very important series for Rohit, Shikhar & Virat. They are the three young pillers of our Indian batting. We should support them instead of only critisism. In tests India will do better. Best wishes

  • YogifromNY on December 14, 2013, 18:43 GMT

    Ray Jennings is absolutely right, India needed to have spent two to three weeks in SA to get used to the wickets. But then how would the BCCI have given an aging player well past his prime a manufactured royal send-off in front of adoring, mindless crowds? Surely, that send-off in a meaningless series against a low-ranked Test team was more important than doing well against the best Test team?! And who cares how the Indian team does in the "real" world: the IPL circus will be here in a few months and then all will be forgotten.....For the record, I am a (disappointed) supporter of the Indian team.

  • Kover_Drive on December 14, 2013, 18:28 GMT

    2-match series can not be a decider. India will fumble and tumble to SA's bowling. There is not enough learn or practice between the ODIs and Tests.

    Sorry India, too late to improve anything.

  • Kover_Drive on December 14, 2013, 18:28 GMT

    2-match series can not be a decider. India will fumble and tumble to SA's bowling. There is not enough learn or practice between the ODIs and Tests.

    Sorry India, too late to improve anything.

  • YogifromNY on December 14, 2013, 18:43 GMT

    Ray Jennings is absolutely right, India needed to have spent two to three weeks in SA to get used to the wickets. But then how would the BCCI have given an aging player well past his prime a manufactured royal send-off in front of adoring, mindless crowds? Surely, that send-off in a meaningless series against a low-ranked Test team was more important than doing well against the best Test team?! And who cares how the Indian team does in the "real" world: the IPL circus will be here in a few months and then all will be forgotten.....For the record, I am a (disappointed) supporter of the Indian team.

  • on December 14, 2013, 18:46 GMT

    Friends, why are you shouting so -vely for India ? It is but natural for every player a bit struggle in overseas condition. Evrybody is watching what Englad & WI are struggling the same way. WI won easily with the same opponents in their home series & same happened in last ashes in England. Can anybody predict De Cock will perform same in India againnst same Ashwin & Jadeja ? What happened to Steyn in last IPL when his countryman Devilliers hit 27 runs in one over for RCB ? So what India is having hard time is a just part of the game. I m sure, Our heros Shikhar, Virat & Rohit must be working hard for test series. In ODIs definately nobody among these 3, threw their wickets or scared of bouncers of SA bowlere. Its only lack of practice games which should have been there before ODIs. This is very important series for Rohit, Shikhar & Virat. They are the three young pillers of our Indian batting. We should support them instead of only critisism. In tests India will do better. Best wishes

  • on December 14, 2013, 19:01 GMT

    Kohli needs Indian wickets to perform. his confidence will be back. he will mostly be a zero away but a star at home. just like the usual indian players ( leaving out stars like SRT and MSD.

  • cchhat01 on December 14, 2013, 19:27 GMT

    @HassanDanial: Kohli needs to channel his aggression and assert the playing conditions well. Kohli has hammered the SriLankans inAustralia at Hobart (http://www.espncricinfo.com/commonwealth-bank-series-2012/engine/current/match/518966.html) so he can destroy the oppostion, he just needs to channel it. This series is way too short to get used to the conditions. Series needs 5 ODIs and 3 tests to be considerd a proper series, this one is a joke.

  • Nampally on December 14, 2013, 19:28 GMT

    Disciplined batting with lot of patience is the key to Indian batting. Kohli got out both the times playing at the balls well outside the off stump & edging them & not getting behind the ball. SA pacers attack with bouncers on or outside off stump. It is important all Indian batsmen to leave those balls alone till they get their eye IN. Unlike in ODI's there is no hurry to score of each ball. Jennings rightly says that the ball comes much quicker of the pitch in SA. So the reaction time is less. With greater bounce it becomes risky cutting the ball or play horizontal bat strokes on the off. You can always accelerate the scoring once you are set & judged the pace of the wkt. Pujara & Vijay, both playing their first match, must make a special note of it. Dhawan & Kohli perished trying cuts. Rohit played well but was unlucky on both innings. There is batting strength & talent in the Indian team which can only be exploited with patience. Has the team collectively got that discipline in it?

  • on December 14, 2013, 19:31 GMT

    It's sad that due to some ego clashes between the two boards( or rather the high-headedness of BCCI), young players like kohli, shikhar and rohit are unable to get enough match practice. Now everyone who's just looking for a reason to hate the Indian team will be up in arms criticizing these guys. As a true supporter of this young Indian side, I just want to say to all these people is that kohli is just 25 years old and there's a long way to go! Is it a bad thing that in the meanwhile he has performed exceptionally well in home conditions. Is it his fault that his cricket board looks to score cheap points over others and does not care about their performances. Or is the hatred because of his attitude? Which I believe has started to improve a lot over the years. No one says a thing about Clarke's attitude when he abused Anderson. Rather, he was awarded with two big ICC awards!!

  • Indianphoenix20 on December 14, 2013, 19:39 GMT

    Its not the fault of the Indian cricket team. After playing on flat Indian wickets for the last 1 year they cant be expected to turn up on the bouncy wickets of SA and start performing from day one. Its the scheduling which has always been a problem. The team should have ideally not played the last minute WI tour and instead gone to SA atleast 2 weeks in advance and played atleast 3-4 practice games. When we know overseas performances are not easy to come by then why not prepare for it. Just to make a few extra bucks the administrators dont mind selling the team out. Its not players who need to be changed bt honest administrators need to be brought in to replace these corrupt politicians running the show currently.

  • CricIndia208 on December 14, 2013, 19:47 GMT

    India are the world champions and the winners of the champions trophy. They will definitely win, they just need some time to acclimatise. Look at the number of warm up games England are playing. India directly drove to the stadium from the airport. As for Kohli, he is the best young batsman in the world. Look at the way he took apart Malinga and the Sri Lankan bowlers in Hobart or Ajmal and the Pakistani bowlers in Dhaka. BCCI need to schedule warm up games whenever India tours South Africa, England or Australia. This is not like playing Sri Lanka, India beats them anytime. Practice is required to take on South Africa.

  • diehardINDIANcricketfan on December 14, 2013, 19:54 GMT

    I just feel he is playing more of straight bat which is very tough in these conditions. I guess he should try something different something related to cross bating more often. he is a champ and he will be whatever the conditions are