South Africa v India, 2nd Test, Durban, 5th day

Mixed feelings for Dhoni after South Africa Tests

Sidharth Monga in Durban

December 30, 2013

Comments: 152 | Text size: A | A
'We've got fantastic ingredients' - Dhoni

This 1-0 series defeat for India has in many ways exceeded the expectations off this young and inexperienced team, but MS Dhoni knows they had put themselves in positions to do much better. At the Wanderers they had almost batted South Africa out of the game, but then witnessed a miraculous comeback that nearly left them beaten. At Kingsmead, India were 198 for 1 on a flat pitch but still ended up losing a Test that was shortened by rain and bad light.


India have a few laughs after a Ravindra Jadeja strike, South Africa v India, 2nd Test, Durban, 3rd day, December 28, 2013
MS Dhoni: "We performed really well. [But] there were a couple of sessions where we played badly and that had an impact on both the Test matches" © AFP
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Dhoni didn't reveal what his expectations from this tour were when asked to rate his side's performance against what he wanted from the trip. "We performed really well," Dhoni said. "There were a couple of sessions where we played badly and that had an impact on both the Test matches. Even in the last Test, we were in position of bother by stumps on last day. In this Test match also we started off well. Just one session where we were off target. As the players play more Tests and get more experience, they will make sure that it's important to capitalise when the bowlers are tired. That's when you get your free Test runs. So important to capitalise."

When pushed about whether he felt his side had done better than expected, all Dhoni said was: "Fantastic performance, [but] yes, we could have done better."

The two bad sessions that Dhoni mentioned were the middle session of the final day in Johannesburg when they couldn't separate Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers, and the first session of the final day in Durban when they lost five wickets. There was also a contentious spell of play on day four when India didn't take the new ball in order to slow down South Africa's scoring. Rahul Dravid, among others, felt India should have shown more intent and gone for the wickets to slow the pace down naturally. Dhoni's explanation for playing the waiting game with the softer ball that wouldn't travel off the bat hinted at the fast bowlers' shortcomings.

"What will we do with the new ball?" Dhoni asked. "Can't swing it. Who will bowl the 25 overs to get it to reverse? [Ravindra] Jadeja won't be effective because it's hard and new, so you have to see what your strength is and take a decision. No point. Yes it [the match] started on the 26th, it's Christmas time, but I am not Santa to let them score freely, and say, 'We won't bat for four sessions, we are ready to bat for six sessions.' It's about strategy and what works for you."

The India bowlers had bowled a lot in Johannesburg, and were back playing in the hot and humid Durban three days later. The energy was clearly down. Possibly Dhoni worried about those 25 overs with lower intensity, and wondered who would be fresh to bowl if it started reversing after those 25 overs. He also pointed out another shortcoming in the attack.

When asked about where this young team was headed, Dhoni said: "Just need to talk about the last two Tests. Plenty of positives, batting department is looking good, ingredients are good. Bowling department, we still need to work on how to bowl on dry surfaces outside the subcontinent and where you need to bend your back and hit the surface hard. That is one area where we need to slightly improve."

Dhoni also said that India needed to convert moments of ascendancy into results, because Tests can be a lost in a session. This is the third time India went into the final Test in South Africa with a chance to win the series, but their third innings let them down. "If you have an upper hand, [you must] make sure you capitalise on that," Dhoni said. "On certain occasions, I felt that we were not able to capitalise on the upper hand. So these are a few areas we need to work on and keep improving."

It was mixed feelings for Dhoni after the series. He knew his side had not been given a chance, but he also knew they had put themselves in positions to win the series. Dhoni was hopeful about the future based on what he saw in South Africa. "The more Test matches that you play, you get more experience," Dhoni said. "This side, overall you talk about making some recipe, all the ingredients are there. This series we didn't cook the food well. But apart from that we have got fantastic ingredients. Just have to make sure we are cooking the right way. Overall, 15-17 member squad is looked good; batting looked good, bowlers worked hard. When something was on offer, in Johannesburg, they were able to get the opposition out. Good exposure for most of the batsmen and bowlers who were touring for the first time."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by BCCIRoxx on (January 2, 2014, 9:42 GMT)

Although the result had gone into South Africa's favor and many congrats to them..but I think the series was a hard fought one and thoroughly entertaining. A close analysis will reveal that India were in the driving seat as much as SA in terms of number of sessions throughout the series... and I don't think ANY other team other than Australia or India can do that in SA with their current lineup. And DHONI is ABSOLUTELY right in this regard when he said we have more positives than negatives.... If the scoreline is slightly in SA's favor is coz they are a bit more lucky in just 1 session of last test!

Posted by Samdanh on (January 2, 2014, 5:36 GMT)

India did well for 3.5 days of the first Test and 1 day of the second and final Test. Compared to that SA did well for 1.5 days of the 1st Test and bulldozed india for 4 days of the Final Test. India can take positives from the batting of Kohli and Pujara from the 1st Test. Nothing more. SA have taken a win for themselves. On a difficult 4th afternoon and 5th whole day pitch in first Test SA battled extremely well to come close to a win playing out their 4th innings. India failed to do so in the second Test batting on a virtually 4th day pitch (considering so much of loss of play time during the Test) batting out only the thrid innings of the Test. That is how big the difference is between India and SA. It is cheap for Dhoni to refer to decisions. If you do not want DRS, take it up your chin and face it. India is the only team not using DRS. All other series where India is not playing, are using DRS.

Posted by kbza86 on (January 1, 2014, 14:14 GMT)

at the end of the day, India lost and India lost heavily...huge margin losses twice in ODIs and 10 wkt loss in tests is just the same as an innings loss. doing well is not winning..bottom line..and coming close to winning is not winning...ALMOST DOESN'T COUNT!! 20 years later when a young cricketer looks at the stats of this series and see lose against India...a good thin to take out of this huge loss is that all teams win thier next series or do well after playing SA..eng did well in India, NZ beat eng, pak now beating SL.if you have never been tested at the highest level by the best team in the world, you learn a great deal and gain massive confidence because you won't face a better bowling or batting attack..

Posted by ramli on (January 1, 2014, 9:10 GMT)

What is so shameful about MSD? So, if we don't win any game abroad, you change the captian? Ridiculous! Spare a thought for a player who is motivated enough to guide and mould a young team. To win any test abroad, all departments need to combine very well. Of course MSD has sometimes failed in crucial times with the bat. But to expect him to pull the team out single handedly everytime is too much.

Posted by Noboundary on (December 31, 2013, 18:55 GMT)

Since the great Kapil Dev, we have never had a new ball bowler who could rattle the opposition with a few quick wickets and put pressure. We have good fast bowlers but they are far from being another Kapil Dev.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2013, 18:42 GMT)

@BCCI Thinking of dropping any player who not performed in RSA? If then start with M.S.Dhoni.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2013, 17:22 GMT)

India had a great chance to put pressure on SA on Day-1 after being 181/1 & had an opportunity to dictate the terms in the match.

But on Day-2 it was a familiar story of the collapse of the Indian top order on a relatively easy batting conditions. The 2nd innings batting performance was even worse with some bad shots played by some players & crucial one was Dhawan's wicket before close of 4th Day's play & the most imp. 2 wickets in the final day morning. But, what was disappointing was lack of application from some batsmen.

But, I feel the problem in Indian team is a strike bowler who if given a ball can take 2-3 crucial wickets. We are lacking the same for some years now. This is preventing us from putting pressure on opposition teams especially in overseas matches. We need to find someone a fast bowler who is effective, consistent & reliable. Due to this drawback we cannot win consistently in overseas matches & opponents fancy scoring > 300 runs in ODI & > 450 runs in Testv/s us.

Posted by TestCricketSupporter on (December 31, 2013, 17:05 GMT)

I am amazed at India's attitude. Isn't it the time for some serious introspection? India clearly lacks good quality pace bowlers, yet it's not doing anything to address this issue. Why can't BCCI with it's deep pockets set up pace bowling training facilities to nurture young talent? Also it should prepare bouncy pitches for domestic matches to promote budding fast bowlers. I am not saying don't prepare turning wickets at all, but there should be balance. After all you can't expect a different result by doing the same thing again and again!.

Posted by latecut_04 on (December 31, 2013, 12:43 GMT)

There may be 'mixed' reactions about India's performance but no confusion about Dhoni--He shouldnt be in the test squad.He just cant be a part of the lower middle order.One way to make up for lack of incisive bowling is by batting deep(like we do in ODIs)and Dhoni just doesnt fit in the scheme of things.His glovework is average at best and he needs to be replaced by DK or any otehr doemstic keeper with good credentials(not Baba for heavens sake.)This young Indian side should be compared to the Smith's SA side which came to India in 2005-05.did any one know about the team members even after the series.Give the lads some time and they have shown plenty of plenty of promise.Chak De india..as for bowling we knew where we were and this is nothing 'disappointing'.Bowling SA out for 241 is something and how many bowling XIs can do this.(Not england for sure)

Posted by KiranP1260 on (December 31, 2013, 10:24 GMT)

The problem with indian test team is Dhoni himself. He seems to get lost if the opposition plays more than 3 session. it happened in the away tests in australia and england and now it repeated itself in SA as well. and I am sure it would repeat in new zealand as well. as he mentioned during the test series in australia that he would retire from tests by end of 2013, he should do it.

Posted by lovemadan on (December 31, 2013, 9:52 GMT)

i am glad to see Rahane playing his innings like laxman (holding with the tailenders etc) . Dhoni has to agree still India needs 2-3 gaps to be filled in the test team. My strong feel is Indian team is short of 7,8 places in test team . Players like Abhishek nayar , Irfan pathan should be given chance ,myself feel india need some bowling all rounders like irfan , shukla , nayar , etc . Over seas we should be in place to play with five bowlers , preferably bowling all-rounders . Gautam Gambhir or Abhinav Mukund could be better opener than Dhawan in test matches . Always Dhawan likes to attack the bowler which is good in ODI or T20 . If any one ask me to select test team , My team would be 1) Vijay 2) Gambhir 3) Pujara 4) Kohli 5) Rahane 6) Dhoni 7) Dinesh Karthick(wk) 8) Jadeja9) Yadav 10)Sharma11)Shammi.12)Ashwin13)Irfan14) Zaheer/Varon 15) Rayudu 16) A.Mukund. M.Tiwary ,Rohit , Nayar , Chand, Pandey , Mandeep , rasool ,all are stand by players .

Posted by irishhawks on (December 31, 2013, 9:34 GMT)

Its really shameful..Look at Skipper of Indian National Team..look at his record overseas...And he has plenty of excuses for it.he says he has got right ingredients! He cannot be serious! Mr Dhoni truth is as a captain you are poor tactician and as a performer you just about manage to hold on to your place...You cant even win a single game abroad! Selectors get him out of his comfort zone..He has taken everything for granted..

Posted by stormy16 on (December 31, 2013, 9:03 GMT)

India lost the series but would be the happier team I reckon. The younger players showed plenty of batting power against the best bowling attack in the world in both tests. The Indian bowlers were never going to blow away SA but they did just that in the first innings of the first test. Most of the performers are still young and many on their first tour to SA which is a tough place to tour from Indian conditions and I think India should be pretty satisfied with the tour. In 4 years time this outfit will be a different proposition in SA I reckon.

Posted by avvinav on (December 31, 2013, 8:36 GMT)

@Arijit_in_TO , Its unfortunate that indians can't appreciate great test captains like pointing and smith. your comment " Graham Smith's captaincy did not make a difference: his tactics were forgettable." does not have any logical basis. In this series he made excellent use of his bowler which finally resulted in a series victory. In 1st test 2nd innings when Morkel was out and steyn and philander were ineffective, he used kallis and duminy to good use to get india out for 421 (from 315/3). Apart from that he led SA batting from front in all 4 innings (something Dhoni cant do at all).

Posted by   on (December 31, 2013, 8:22 GMT)

Yes Correct Dale Steyn Was the difference between experience SA and naive Blues

Posted by IndCrab on (December 31, 2013, 8:21 GMT)

Time for a wholesale change,,,, keep Pujara ,Kohli , Vijay ,Jadeja ,Rahanne,Shami, and include Irfan Pathan , Sheldon Jackson , Varun Aaron , Anwar Ahmed,Manoj Tiwary ,Shabaz Nadim , Dinesh Kathik , Ishwar Pandey,Rishi Dhawan ,Mandeep Singh ,Shukla. Dhoni ,Ishant ,Zaku Khan, Walking wicket wonders Dhawan and Rohit must play Ranji Trophies to sharpen there dust bowl skills.

Posted by jango_moh on (December 31, 2013, 8:12 GMT)

wow,..... many ppl monday morning quarterbacking here.... lets go by the 2 games played.... this young indian team gave a good fight to the SA team, something that was hardly expected.... the batting was great, and almost all of them showed that they belong at this level and can handle the best bowlers..... the bowling was good when there was assistance in the pitch.... may need to bring in yadav, bhuvi etc... i think this is a great start to the overseas tour.... now on to NZ, letsee how they handle the swing, every series will be a learning experience.... good luck to this young indian team(many ppl forget the context)...... cricinfo pls publish!!

Posted by sweetspot on (December 31, 2013, 8:12 GMT)

Many Indians seem to put their entire hopes - eradicating corruption and poverty included, on their cricket team! Despite all predictions of a drubbing, India put on a good show. SA aren't that far ahead, even though they are deservingly #1.

By now, many of us must be tired of this replacement nonsense, but not the replacement mafia. Anything that goes wrong, kick X out, kick Y out, bring in Z! I'm sure a lot of people if on the other side, would now want to kick out Amla, now that he has failed in two full tests, and that too bowled so often! He must be finished! Straight from world #1 to finished! Can't play in home conditions! Right? Right.

What do we expect from a young team on its first overseas tour, to the den of the #1 side? That they defeat the host by an innings in both tests? Give them time, and let the pros do their jobs, especially Dhoni.

Posted by theposeidon on (December 31, 2013, 8:03 GMT)

i dont get it...waht negativity are we talkin of here??we were 181 for 1 and ended up making just 334. in 2nd innings apart from rahane, evry1 failed. in 1st test after dominating for 4 days we almost lost. if with such an unpredictable batting order and almost toothless bowling, if any1 aims for a draw instead of attackin, it only is justified...we had no steyn or morkel or philander...on a pacers heaven, lets face it, the best bet was jadeja...with such resources, how was any kind of attack possible...was ishant expected to deliver at 140 with bounce with a new ball or was strugglin zak with old ball expected to swing the newer one...i have no idea what good a new ball would have done...the sole reason they wrapped up was their sloggin in the end...and for captaincy..who would u suggest will lead??kohli??too young...playin well...at no 4...so dont mess with him up...nd for points sake, smith reaped benefits of worlds best bowling line up...nothing about his captaincy was special...

Posted by   on (December 31, 2013, 7:55 GMT)

why is Dhoni in the playing 11 till now in away tests? below is performance in all the away test matches in the last 10 years. He averages 20 or less against Aus, SA & WI. IF Gambhir & Sehway are dropped from playing 11 then why not Dhoni?????

Career summary of Dhoni in away Test matches in the last 3 years.

v Australia 3 102 57* 20.40 v England 4 220 77 31.42 v S Africa 3 87 29 17.40 v W Indies 3 97 74 19.40

Posted by Naresh28 on (December 31, 2013, 7:53 GMT)

@ROXSPORT - agree with you, I had posted a similar comment. bring Gambhir in for a middle order spot and make him captain. Replace wicky with Dinesh Karthik. Give a chance to Ishwar Pandey - a bowler who did well in SA with India A.

Posted by spinkingKK on (December 31, 2013, 7:48 GMT)

@Mohammad Irfan, You are right. It is a good performance by India because they didn't get all out below 200 runs in any Test innings. People were expecting that. But, if there was a third test, we could have seen that with only Rahane making a fifty or a hunderd and rest of the batting crumbling with Kohli getting run out. Only those two batsmen seems to be the ones who can score when the going gets tough. When the tour began, I was questioning why Rahane is preferred over Manoj Tiwary. That doubt still there, but Rahane proved to me why the selectors have selected him. He has it in him to make it very very big. If you can counter attack and score big overseas when the opposition is attacking and the wickets are crumbling, you are the one any team wants. In recent times, I have only seen that in Tendulkar, Laxman and Kohli.

Posted by spinkingKK on (December 31, 2013, 7:34 GMT)

Dhoni saying that the team couldn't capitalize when they had the upper hand. But, whom to blame? If you have Zaheer Khan bowling @130KPH wide outside offstump to two 80something batsmen in Johannesburg and if you find that they both have no troubles whatsoever to put them away for easy runs and if you still decides to give him an extended spell than normal and if you make no changes whatsoever when those batsmen are in their nervous 90's, whom would you blame? Then, 3 days after there's a second match and if you decides to change a spin bowler who is less likely to have any energy problems, but decides to keep the same fast bowling attack and keep up with the same 35 year old legs, and leave a 140kph+ young bowler at the dressing room, whom would you blame? True, Dhoni definitely knows more cricket than me and may have judged Yadav to be an ineffective option. But, I don't understand his decision to give Zaheer Khan an extended spell at the wanderers. To me, that was THE REASON.

Posted by YesKayR on (December 31, 2013, 7:30 GMT)

I think it is the bowling department which made a huge difference between the teams. Considering that the 6 batsman India had - out of them 4 have played less than 10 tests and other 2 around 20 tests , it was a good batting display. We always blame Indian batsman do not perform overseas because they play on placid pitches at home. But it would be interesting to see some players who have made debut outside India or when they play their first series abroad, they have performed well ... Gavaskar, Ganguly, Dravid, Sehwag, Pravin Amre to name a few.. India's bowling is the main reason for our inability to win tests abroad.. Ashwin and Jadeja are pathetic at the best. Fast bowlers lacked pace, variety, skills and looked clue less. Shami can be more effective if he has support at other end. Otherwise even at 138 - 142 kph, he does not look menacing. Every time Philander bowls he looks like taking a wicket... he bowls only at 130 - 135 kph. We need pacers with speed, skills and BRAINS too !!

Posted by bumsteer on (December 31, 2013, 7:27 GMT)

@nyc_missile - spot on. I have great respect for Dhoni but he and fletcher are the most negative combination in test cricket. Scared of losing therefore never pushing for a win. Began in the West Indies when they refused to chase a gettable target. Team India will never be dominant unless they are willing to go for the win every time. That's what makes champion teams.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2013, 7:26 GMT)

below par performance by dhoni, rohit, dhawan and indian bowlers. they were not that good to bowl out SA two times in five days and thats a shame for one of the top team in the world. there are no moral victories but hard facts in cricket. dhoni should now be replaced and rohit, dhawan should only play in indian conditions. considering this a better than expected performance by dhoni is pathetic.

Posted by bravetigersmustwin on (December 31, 2013, 7:10 GMT)

Dale styen might be the biggest difference between two sides. India do not even have a bowler who could match him atleast 70%. But our biggest flaw is Dhoni who literally failed to protect the tail end batting. Our strength is batting but once our top order is out, then Steyn takes a free wicket. Dhoni must realise he didnt capitalise the hard earned runs by the top order. Jadeja and Dhoni should have added some quick runs. No doubt Dhoni is best suited for ODIs. Let Dinesh Karthik play test. Yes we must have wicket keeper batsmen, rather than wicket keeper Captain.

Posted by T20Fun on (December 31, 2013, 7:08 GMT)

Also for everyone talking about India's inability to play pace this was their first series loss to SA since 2006. Thats an excellent achievement against a team that has consistently had the finest pace bowling attack for the last 5 years.

Posted by johancryuff on (December 31, 2013, 7:08 GMT)

I Agree with RiskySingle. Dhoni is complete misfit in test team, especially overseas. T20 yes, ODIs yes but Test matches A BIG NO. He doesn't deserve a place in Test Team, let alone be the Captain (non existent technique, which is fine where ball does not rise above knee level but overseas a different ball game all together). We need someone who can keeps wickets and bat a bit like Brad Haddin. I feel there should be separate teams for Test & shorter formats. Also i must add has 6 years of IPL produced even one guy who can represent the team in any format. IPL should be scarpped and Ranji should be promoted.

Posted by T20Fun on (December 31, 2013, 7:06 GMT)

Also I think it was amazing the way the Indian fielding came to the fore. Barring those 2 dropped chances in the first innings of the first test the fielding was excellent. Many a times a bad ball at the end of an over was saved from becoming a boundary. Add to that the direct hits. The future for Indian batting and fielding is looking good. It just needs to be nurtured.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2013, 6:56 GMT)

India Remarkable? Did I watch a different series or what? Couldn't win a match after posting 460, in fact came close to losing it! Lost by ten wickets the next one! India batted well in patches but havent they done that always? Pathetic bowlers! Ishant still part of the team makes me laugh endlessly. It would have been remarkable if this had been Bangladesh, you guys are Team India man!

Posted by   on (December 31, 2013, 6:56 GMT)

It baffles me to see that we are talking about our bowling, batting but very less people talk about the real reason India lose tests overseas. It is our beloved captain Mr Dhoni. He does not deserve a place in the test XI as a keeper or batsman alone and he is a below average captain at best. In overseas conditions, he is a walking wicket and he always gives catching practice. Guys like Kohli and Pujara performing is not because of Dhoni, this is the true legacy of Sachin, Dravid and the likes. People said they should have retired early but ask Kohli what it meant to spend 2 years with Sachin in the dressing room. You see it in his Eyes, Kohli, that he wants to own and play as long as Sachin at that No. 4. Not having an option is not a reason for Dhoni to continue as captain. Let him do whatever with the ODI side, but leave the test side alone.

Posted by nyc_missile on (December 31, 2013, 6:54 GMT)

MSD in his quest not to lose and draw the series has utterly deflated the team's confidence and aspirations by his own miserable show and discouraging them when the need was to inspire and lead.'Experts' are there to gain a few brownie points by shutting up on MSD and blame everything else, lest they lose out on lucrative contracts / assignments tied to the BCCI. Them apart, everyone else is blaming Dhoni and rightly so.His atrocious tactics and ridiculous approach to this series has worked against the cumulative instinct of this team which was to be aggressive- illustrated by Kohli & Pujara in the 1st match and Rahane yesterday.Even a predictable and monotonous Ishant produced magic albeit briefly in J'burg. That tells us that this team wasn't looking just for a draw but is capable & willing to win..alas their captain didn't oblige them! And worse..undermined their brilliance due to his own negativity towards the game.

Posted by Fast_Track_Bully on (December 31, 2013, 6:45 GMT)

Cople of guys like Rohit , Dhavan, Ashwin ruined the hard work done by others. Vijay was not excellent, but he did well in 2 inngs. Jadeja was good in bowling but failed in batting. Pujara, Kohli, Rahane were the real stars from Indian side.

Posted by Pindia on (December 31, 2013, 6:41 GMT)

South Africa are a very good team in their own conditions. India has a big chance to win the first test and in the end were lucky to save it. The Indian team is full of new wave limited overs players. Only Pujara and perhaps Kohli are true test players. The mix may work, especially in India; but they don't have a world class spinner as yet. Dhawan and Vijay can be spectacular at the top, as they were in India vs Aus but they are no more consistent than Sehwag + Gambhir. The big problem is fast bowling, but it always has been...

Posted by   on (December 31, 2013, 6:37 GMT)

I dont understand how this is better than expected series for No. 2 Team India. First of all, India is not no. 6 or 7 ranked team who can still find some moral victory in a lost series. Secondly, some said India did better than recently visited team. But how ?? AUS i know bundled out for 47 but they bowled out SA for 96 too and they won a Test too here last time. NZL may be lost Test Series but they did better in One days by winnng the series. Pak, did not good in test series but again win few ODIs and recently became first Asian team to win a series in SA. Now tell me how India who ranked above these three teams both in One Day and Test did better than these teams.

Posted by GaniFromTuni on (December 31, 2013, 6:28 GMT)

Dhoni played 81 tests and no century in foreign countries and look at his test average. Its time to look for new test captain(Gambhir).Consider case of ganguly , even though he has good captain because of his poor batting form he is out of team.Selectors has to looks into this issue.

Posted by RiskySingle on (December 31, 2013, 6:24 GMT)

@Ankit Kumar, there was no T20 on this tour. Remembering stuff that never happened ?? ;)

Generally, Dhoni is a complete misfit in the test team. His style of captaincy (defensive) is suited to limited overs while preventing the other team from scoring the runs can win u the match. In a test match though a team needs to take 20 wickets to win. Dhoni has never been a bowlers' captain and never attacks or encourages bowlers to take wickets. His basic impulse is to save runs and that is not enough for test cricket captaincy.

Team selection is also mind-blasting, playing with 4 bowlers again at durban one of whom is an ailing 35 year old who bowled 40+ overs at Jo'burg. Why do we need 8 batsmen in the team? I guess to be 150/7 in the crunch 2nd innings on the final day of the series.

God help Indian test cricket with such decision making !!

Posted by   on (December 31, 2013, 6:22 GMT)

It was a very inconsistent performance by the Indians in the test series. Just a few positives in the form of Kohli, Pujara, Rahane, Shami and also Vijay. Dhoni needs to make way for Dinesh Karthik. Only notable contribution from Dhoni is the 200+ score against the Aussies at home. Its time we try out Rishi Dhawan as the bowling all-rounder at #7 in the upcoming series. Honestly speaking, wasn't impressed with either Zak or Ishant. Need to bring in some bowlers who have got both pace and can hit the right L&L on a more consistent basis. Aaron can be tried out to open the bowling alongside Shami, and maybe go back to Bhuvi as the 3rd pace bowling option, as he can swing the bowl both ways and maintain good L&L more consistently. But there is a need for Bhuvi to up his average speeds to atleast mid 130s. Hope he works on it.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2013, 6:16 GMT)

Dhoni is actually playing the Ostrich that sticks its head in the sand-Sorry, Mr Captain, you, and your choice of bowlers (Ishant, Zaheer) have been complete failures on this tour. Even after practically losing the series 2-0 and being whitewashed in the ODI series, how can someone have the audacity to say that "we have done very well"??? I mean, if you claim to be the Number 2 Test team in the world, Do you go into an overseas series thinking that "Oh, we will lose this", or "OMG, what can we do on a green pitch"? And then, after losing badly, come out & say that "Oh, we did very well-there were lots of positives", and all such crap. Sorry, positives come from winners, not whiners. And, this is where MSD has been ultra-defensive in his approach and thoughts-Because he himself has been a grand failure and a liability to our team on overseas tours.

Posted by LineNLength on (December 31, 2013, 6:00 GMT)

@Avidcricketlover The same could be said about batsmen from Aus, Eng, SA, NZ and WI playing in the subcontinent. One would have thought that with so much more cricket being played these days in India with its "flat pitches", foreign batsmen would find it easier to score lots of runs. I reversed your query and found the data to be quite telling. Relatively few modern day batsmen with average above 50. Why so few Australians, English and SA batsmen? http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?class=1;filter=advanced;home_or_away=2;opposition=6;opposition=7 ;opposition=8;orderby=batting_average;qualmin1=1000;qualval1=runs; team=1;team=2;team=3;team=4;team=5;template=results;type=batting (hint: its hard to play well in "foreign" conditions)

Posted by ROXSPORT on (December 31, 2013, 5:43 GMT)

MSD has to take part of the blame for the Indian loss. Why Ishant Sharma was preferred over Umesh Yadav or even Bhuvaneshwar Kumar in the first test, we will never know. But, the least he could have done was to bring in one of the two for the second test in place of Ishant. His habit of playing favourites is costing India hard. Similarly, had Jadeja been preferred over Ashwin in the first test, we might have had a different result, seeing as Ashwin's record overseas is nothing to write home about.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2013, 5:36 GMT)

@Mir Zain - India won the T20 on this tour. Try to remember.

Posted by ROXSPORT on (December 31, 2013, 5:35 GMT)

Does Dhoni deserve a place in the Test team????? That, to me, is a big question mark. Look at his performances in 10 tests outside India, and I am sure most of you will come to the conclusion that I have. No, plain & simple. For me, Gautam Gambhir should be the captain of the test team with the wicket keeping job going to Dinesh Karthick. Do the selectors have the guts to drop Dhoni????? Again, No, plain & simple.

Posted by chandru25 on (December 31, 2013, 5:30 GMT)

Hi All,

Pls forget abt complaining that MSD is a wrong captain or not fit for Test. Any Team when play test against any opponent in their Den, it's very difficult to perform well. Same thing happens when SA visit India. As Dhoni said its abt learning the conditions well and deliver the goods when required. Get new quicks., hunt for new quicks who have talent in gully cricket pamper them and train them well. They can be useful. Mitchell Johnson is not a school or college cricketer but selected to national team. Same with M Ntini.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2013, 5:25 GMT)

Indians did their max, we all know their bowling lacks the fire and stamina hence lost the grip in the 1st test with which SA won the 2nd test. To the current ability they played well, dragged the tests to its 5th day and scored 300+ and 400+ scores and few scintillating centuries which was missing in previous series (lets forget about that WI Sachin joke series). When they go to NZ and Eng, they need a bowler yet to be found! Hope Pak can borrow one to them...

Posted by   on (December 31, 2013, 5:22 GMT)

Is the talented Rohit & Dhawan limited to sub continent?

Posted by indianpunter on (December 31, 2013, 5:21 GMT)

Frankly, i find it quite ridiculous, that Dhoni has the audacity to say that India performed " really well" when the scoreline should have been 2-0 and after being thrashed in the 2nd test. Dhoni is masking his own flaws by backing his team. Mediocrity is my worst enemy, so said someone wise. Ishant Sharma has to go. He cannot continue to churn out these half baked performances and expect to be picked. And, Rahane should be moved up to 5, and No-Hit to 6. And while i am no fan of Dhawan, i am pleased by the application he showed in the 2nd innings.

Posted by vipul688 on (December 31, 2013, 5:15 GMT)

India has to worry about not only its pace bowling dept, but also its spin bowling. India has the weakest spin attack among the sub continent teams. This was a pitch tailor-made for spinners. Pakistani and Sri Lankan spinners and Graeme Swann would have run through the SA batting on this pitch.

Just have a look at this scorecard of SA v SRL test in Durban exactly two years ago. http://www.espncricinfo.com/south-africa-v-sri-lanka-2011/engine/current/match/514033.html

This is ENG v SA in Durban exactly 4 years ago. http://www.espncricinfo.com/rsaveng09/engine/current/match/387571.html

Posted by   on (December 31, 2013, 4:37 GMT)

india not able to win a single match (ODI, T20 & Test) on the tour and still indians praising their team, surprised to see such low expectations from TEAM INDIA.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2013, 4:28 GMT)

Well as per MSD I simply dont understand what ingredients he is talking about , except for Kohli,Pujara and Rahane ( the find of the tour ) ..there is hardly any player in this team of over pampered IPL stars who are capable of performing on overseas tours . If we consider Jadheja and Ashwin our spin strike force then God save India, Ozha is always a better option than Jadheja in Test matches atleast . For Ashwin ( the so called top allrounder in the world as per the ratings points ) he cant even extract turn from good surfaces there are good enough spiin bowlers than him who are performing better . As for pace bowling Shami Mohammed is an excellent bowler ,others looks nothing but mediocore . For India to succeed on overseas tour first there should be a good bowling who can stike equally against top order and then knock over the lower order.Plus batters who can bat well in any conditions.

Posted by android_user on (December 31, 2013, 4:28 GMT)

SORRY Gentleman for me Dhoni is not a good captain in Test. we got senior players in ENG & AUS ..we lost 4-0.. and now we got young talented player we lost 1-0.. Dhoni allways got excuse. Go through his Captaincy Record in test..51 test- won 26 out of which 21 in iND .. 5 in abroad and too against not a good test team. he does good in India. .he got spinners .. but in abroad he keeps losing. . his batting avrg outside IND is 22.. for me he is not a test captain material. so please Dhoni retire from test and concentrate on ODIS & T/20. even in T/20 WE won a world cup it was fluke..ct do that again.

Posted by MOJITH-11 on (December 31, 2013, 4:15 GMT)

Fantastic performance from a young Indian side under the leadership of MSD. No one other than MSD can give confidence to his players. A good Indian show by a young team lead by greatest captain ever India had & a good support for the young lads by MSD brings confidence in them for performing. Kohli, Pujara, Vijay, Jaddu & Rahane all Performed upto their task. Don't write off Dhawan & Rohit. They will bounce b ack hard in Newzealand no Doubt about that. I think Munaf Patel should be given an opportunity along with Shami & Umesh. Well done MSD we are proud of u that you don't let them to sweep the series comfortably that is what all Indian Fans want & A series win would be a great feeling for us.

Posted by michael.senthil on (December 31, 2013, 4:09 GMT)

india performed much better than i expected, mainly due to their batting- with pujara and kohli getting runs, indian cricket looks pretty solid at the moment. It will be interesting to see how they perform against england and australia this year, both away from home, in a four and five match series respectively

Posted by rajuramki on (December 31, 2013, 4:06 GMT)

After getting thrashed in the one dayers, it was thought that the Indians will be rolled over in the two tests . However , the Indians were upto the task on most of the occasions . They did not win the critical moments , which is why they lost the series 1-0 . The contributions with the bat from Pujara, Kohli.Rahane and Vijay were exceptional . Dhoni , Dhawan and Rohit did not do justice to their potential . Two poor umpiring decisions and two poor strokes decided the series in favour of SA .On the whole, the test series was fought well with both matches going upto the last session on the 5th day . Well done India .

Posted by mshekar on (December 31, 2013, 4:05 GMT)

Test cricket is the Pinnacle of this sport and it sorts out men from boys. Sample Dhoni. For all the accolades that ex-crickets and his cronies shower on him he is only good enough for ODI and T20. For a man who has the entire establishment working for him and is the single captain in the history of Indian cricket to have such a backing has surely taken Indian test cricket backwards. We will not get into why he is backed so much. But given the backing he is the most defensive captain in tests i have ever seen. First test could have been won, but for Dhoni's defensive captaincy. On the breaking wicket when your tall fast bowler bowls you need to have a short leg. These are basics, the batsmen see the fielder and tries to avoid him thus forcing errors. Even in the last 3 overs from Shami and Zaheer with Steyn and Philander the bowlers bowled short outside the off with no fielder within the frame of the screen. The less said about his batting abroad is better.Disgusting

Posted by SydneyIndi on (December 31, 2013, 3:57 GMT)

As I posted yesterday, Dhoni's negative captaincy is not going to win tests for us O/S. From winning position in both tests, he managed to lose the series by his negativity. Now bowlers and batsmen are blamed. It was strange to see him arguing that bowlers had tired legs in the 2nd test. Really? Steyn, Morkel and Vernon played in 1st test but they were OK in the 2nd! If Zak & Ishant were tired why he didn't pick Yadav and B kumar with Shami for the second? What is the point in going with Zak and Ishant if they were NBG for the 2nd? 3 of the 4 bowlers were pacers yet he didn't take the new ball and go for the kill. How do you win from that strategy? On top of that he doesn't deserve a place in the side, let alone lead it. I checked the last 10 innings batting avg O/S for Veeru, Gambhir & MSD; it comes to 23.9, 19.4 & 18.9 respectively! Why BCCI/ selectors keep MSD leading instead of Veeru or Gambhir or some one else? Keep MSD for ODI & T20 only. We fans need to ask questions on these.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2013, 3:56 GMT)

Dont criticze with something which we dont have , we hardly get a good fast bowler , i will may gone after few years like previous past bowler like irfan , balaji bcz our indian condition wont suite for fast bowling.reason can be many. 1. if indian get good fast bowler we need lot of patience to get . which certainly dont have it ... is steyn is good fast bowler yes he is .. but is he was good fast bowler at starting of his career , certanily not ... he didnt taken much wicket. but RSA knows their ablity and keep him faith . now he is one of the best bowler. Like AB... he s not a great batsman for long time from starting of his career .. but RSA believe in his ablity . now he is best among rest..Like tendulkar , kallis , and so on all are slow starter....

now cricket era is differnt if u got one poor game , ppl criticize , if its leads series lost ten u gone... so player moral down . then he s gone. who knows he may be one of the best cricketer of era.

i dont know how much

Posted by Desihungama on (December 31, 2013, 3:55 GMT)

@cooljack_143- C'mon Man. He outright threw his entire bowling line up under the bus by saying he does not know what to do with a new ball. Was he effectively conceding India does not have a single new ball bowler? That's not how you back up your team in my humble opinion.

Posted by android_user on (December 31, 2013, 3:54 GMT)

Your team did not win a single game completely outplayed in the ODIs and lost the test series 1-0 and you say your team performed well?? What message are you sending as the 'captain'? Had the pitches been anything like the first ODI in joburg both the games would have ended in innings defeats..This is a nice way to cover up your own ineptitude in non subcontinent conditions...If you can't do let someone else do the job..don't set the bar low for the young guys who have to fend for themselves. ..you are not a club team on invitation playing charity matches..you are an international no.2 team playing the no.1 team in the highest class of the game...If you set yourselves targets ike some happy go lucky tourist you are not helping the guys who are forced to look up to you...#indian test captain #poor leadership #worrisome attitude

Posted by tuggah on (December 31, 2013, 3:42 GMT)

Mr. Dhoni, its high time u realize that test cricket is not for you. you are just an entertainer and not a good cricketer. its a compulsion that you were made test captain too. you may be good in shorter formats but trust me test cricket is for more conventional batsman than you are. selectors should hand over test captaincy to kohli or pujara. no offense but msd is just another crowd pulling entertainer who got more credit for what he is.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2013, 3:40 GMT)

He is the king of excuses and the most pathetic test player i have ever seen. No doubt he is the best in ODI and T20 but Tests is not his cup of tea.

Posted by KrishG on (December 31, 2013, 3:21 GMT)

What is the accountability of coaches? Nothing is visible from them on strategy, bowling or fielding. Does Dhoni consult or listen to them? What is Fletchers role?

Posted by   on (December 31, 2013, 3:06 GMT)

I think, we were unlucky a lot. Unlucky, because Ishant got those 4 wickets in last ODI, which ensured his selection in Tests. Unlucky that Zak got back and made Bhuvi sit out, same Bhuvi who always used to get us an early wicket in ODI's and even in tests in placid tracks back home, he sure would have done lot better in helpful surfaces. Slow on speed, but then Philander bowls 130 too. Unlucky, that we have most unimaginative captain in test cricket. Dhoni, as much as he is brilliant in limited overs, is pathetic in test matches. When game start to drift away, he do not know what to do. Not to mention he is a walking wicket outside subcontinent. Dhoni, please retire from tests, concentrate on WC15, time to bring Sanju Samson, Imtiaz Ahmed, Varun Aron along with Bhuvi, Shami & Umesh we should be good. In place of Rohit, we can try Nayar or Rishi, will give extra bowling option.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2013, 3:04 GMT)

I feel we should temper our comments.. yes, India almost exceeded expectations by staying till 5th day in both test matches. Bowling, has not been our strong point, and seem to pick up a level in helpful conditions.. The conditions at Wanderers (later part), and in Durban being almost Indian like, they looked exposed. But, by the same token, the supposed strength - batting, should have saved us. Really speaking, in the tests we batted well once (2nd innings of first test) out of 4 attempts in conditions almost favorable to our batting..so, while we are quick to bag the bowling, peel the onion and see.. even the batting did not do justice collectively...

Posted by McGorium on (December 31, 2013, 3:03 GMT)

@rocket123: On cue, people like to come crawling out of the woodwork at the sight of an Indian loss. Let me explain why Dhoni wasn't terribly disappointed: The entire top order has less combined experience than Greme Smith alone. Only recently, they were playing for India-A. The only people to have played over 20 games are Zaheer, Dhoni, and Ishant. SAF was on the run for most of the first test, and for the first two days of this game, with a top-flight bowling and batting order. SAF stretched to win in their backyard.Where India really failed was in the bowling department, especially day 5 of the first game. "Flukes" happen in ODI and T20, not in tests. As for your comment about Pakistan having XFactor: Since 2010, Pak has a test W/L ratio of 1.0 (33% games won overall). Since 2010, India has a W/L of 1.42(48% games won). This includes the 8-0 whitewash from 2 years ago. The rankings don't lie: Xfactor be damned, India wins more games. Only SAF W/L 3.5 and Eng W/L 1.8 are superior.

Posted by insightfulcricketer on (December 31, 2013, 2:22 GMT)

I think the humble pie that Indian fans have to eat is that our bowling resources are very low-grade.There is neither discipline nor skills to manufacture wickets when the conditions are beneficial to batsmen.

Zaheer should retire now as he has nothing to offer to Indian cricket as a player at-least.He was lion-hearted but is a pale shadow of his prime. Plus an Indian cricket captain has to keep this mantra that if the wicket is not green play 2 spinners "always". The medium-pace attack is just dowright poor even my grand-ma could score a hundred against this lot.

Posted by Attacking on (December 31, 2013, 2:05 GMT)

India can only win at home.

0-9 win-loss ratio in away tests.

Back to 1990's India.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2013, 1:38 GMT)

Dollowing the beating inthe onedayers india fared a lot better in the tests.But the sad part of it is india never has a quality third seamer,Again the aversion on DRS.Had it been there kohli's dismissal could have been reversed and who knows the match drawn.And with limited bowling resources india definitely will only benefit from DRS. Pl accept DRS for the sake of our bowlers.And finally india would do well to play both Ashwin and jadeja instead of a nonexisting third seamer.

Posted by Alexk400 on (December 31, 2013, 1:36 GMT)

Sugar coating. He is bad overseas captain. His method of patience works only in india. His methods terribly exposed over and over again. he is unimaginative , conservative , risk free captain. He is a giant in indian condition and a mouse in overseas. Kohli should be TEST captain. Dhoni should be forced to give up test capatiancy. What a better way for him to be vice captain and help kohli in captaincy. Or even pujara as vc is better. I hope selectors read these post and make kohli as captain. we need new blood , new aggressive thinking.

Posted by cricforpeace on (December 31, 2013, 1:32 GMT)

I am thankful that we do not elect the team in a democratic way. I hope they have a wonderful NZ team.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2013, 1:32 GMT)

The Rohit-haters make no sense at all. They forget how unsuccessful Pujara's, Kohli's (the first 8 innings!), Rahane (flopped totally in Aus even against state sides) and Vijay's I(a flop in WI against WI) initial overseas test cricket was. And yet Dhawan & Rohit have done very well in overseas ODIs against quality attacks including some of the best fast bowlers in the world. Dhoni's batting overseas has improved, a few more matches and he will be all right. Zaheer & Ishant need to removed for Yadav, Pankaj, Aaron to get in.

Posted by Prasanna_cricfan on (December 31, 2013, 1:21 GMT)

Dhoni your time has come, you served with pride and dignity but now you got to go. Based on your performance you cannot be picked neither as a batsman nor as a captain the only point that may save you is we do not have our next captain groomed it is a pity! (may it was a strategy) We need to find an allrounder someone like Irfan we need to groom them with all the money BCCI have how hard can this be there is no shortage of talent it is about grooming. Test cricket in India is dying for sure if players like Irfan are payed approx 1 Million $ in IPL then why will they play in Test? For players who represent India should be paid more than players who play for their respective franchise but unfortunately it is other way around, until this change India will not win any Test match outside Sub continent, this team if played against Bangladesh outside sub-continent will loose! IPL sucks and it has ruined Test cricket best India can do is stop playing Test this saves from further embarrassment!

Posted by wake_up_india on (December 31, 2013, 1:15 GMT)

In the end, though the Indians put up a bigger fight in spurts than expected of them, the expected happened. Lack of experience in a game that is called "cricket" only in name in India showed -- it is a quite different game that is played in India under the same name (nothing wrong with that but don't expect to excel in ice hockey by playing field hockey). Neither the batsmen nor the bowlers had the training or experience to play this game. Some of the batsmen learned more quickly than others. With the bolwers, it was worse -- you cannot simply increase pace on demand (at 135 kmp the swing did not bother the South African batsmen); additionally, the dust bowl was not there for the spinners to play their game. There is a very simple solution -- prepare pace friendly pitches in India and PLAY DOMESTIC GAMES, INCLUDING IPL, ON SOME OF THOSE PITCHES. I beleive the Indian players are talented; the problem is with the managment of the sport in India.

Posted by cosair on (December 31, 2013, 1:15 GMT)

India has not got the mix right to face fast bowling. There is a need to prepare pitches in India for fast bowling similar to Australian and S African wickets. I am sure that India has talented batters who need to condition themselves by playing under various conditions. Similarly fast bowlers should practice on fast and bouncy wickets. The fact that the Indian seamers failed to dismiss the SA tai lenders and allowed the S Africans to score 500 runs and let the first test slip way shows lack of imagination and application. India needs a bowling coach and Wasim Akram comes to mind. India has a fairly young team which needs to be coached and nurtured and have that fighting spirit to win matches.

Posted by ProdigyA on (December 31, 2013, 0:49 GMT)

It's easy to question the selection after the match and say Ashwin could have done better instead of Rohit.

What is more imoortant now is to learn from this tour. India clearly does not have a good pace attack so it's better to play to ur strength which is spin. India should encourage Ashwin to be a proper alrounder and play Ashwin and Jadeja/Ohja in every match.

Zak was very disappointing, if he should play only in alternate matches, he does not seem to have the fitness to play consecutive Tests. Ishant must be told to hold one line up if he cannot pick wickets.

Finally I seriously question Dhoni's role in the team apart from captaincy. He is great captain but seriously burden on the team in overseas conditions. They should replace him with a proper wicketkeeper batsman. But who will replace him as a captain, is the big question.

Posted by Guduji71 on (December 31, 2013, 0:43 GMT)

My analysis of the series is that India almost lost the first test I think SA should have gone for the win in the first test match and second test was won by SA almost by an innings. Ind lost both ODIs, badly. The results don't show that India did remarkably well.

Posted by KiwiRocker- on (December 31, 2013, 0:22 GMT)

Only Dhoni and Indians can say 'fantastic performance' after India was humilated 2-0 in ODI series with 100+ margins. India almost lost first test when they had opposition chasing 450 in 135 overs and India was hammered in second test by 10 wickets. This is a difference between champion teams like SA, West Indies and Pakistan of 80's and AUstralia of 90's.Champion teams measure success by results and not by 'individual ingredients'. What is good about couple of indians scoring centuries in this series...So did Asad Shafiq and Younis Khan for Pakistan against SA on far tougher conditions. India was given this series on platter with no DRS, hand picked venues and very batting friendly conditions and India still failed. Dhoni along with ove hyped Ashwin, Sharma and Shawan were biggest failures.The denial is one of reasons that India is being embarrassed over and again.They have not won in Australia, England, SA and even Pakistan so India's no.2 ranking is as good as Dhoni's hollow claims!

Posted by Naresh28 on (December 30, 2013, 23:27 GMT)

It's time we replaced Dhoni in TESTS. Gambhir should come in and take charge. Rohit dropped an important catch in the first test and has been useless with the bat, he and Dhawan need to be replaced. Gambhir has the footwork and needs to play in the middle. We need a wicketkeeper who can bat. Kholi can be the vice. Apart from Shami and Jadeja the bowlers need replacing. Wholesome changes is the solution for foreign tours. Pujara, Vijay, Kohli and Rahane have been outstanding. A-team trials for Manpreet Juneja, Kiwonjit Singh, KL Rahul and Manoj Tiwari.

Posted by WC2011Champs on (December 30, 2013, 23:08 GMT)

4) Zaheer Sir, seniority rules but think about Bhuvi also. If you were going to bowl around 128kmph how would that make Bhuvi feel? All colleagues of yours Sachin, Laxman, Dravid, and Ganguly have called it quits. Kallis, who was bowling around 138kmph, has retired saying his body could not take it anymore:). I really wanted to see Bhuvi vs. Philander who bowls around the same speed of 130kmph with precision. But Bhuvi let me be honest here saying that 135kmph will earn you lot more respect. If the pitch and weather conditions do not favor swing like in SA and Australia and/or when the ball is old the speed does work for you. Shami is preferred because he is now bowling 140k.

Posted by DingDong420 on (December 30, 2013, 23:07 GMT)

Away from home we look unbalanced, we need 6 batsmen / 4 Bowlers. If you look at SA / Aus / England they have 3 fast / 1 allrounder / 1 spinner.

We dont seem to have the allrounder unless Jadeja plays instead of Rohit with 4 fastbowlers. We also need PACE why havnt we tried Yadav??

Posted by nyc_missile on (December 30, 2013, 22:49 GMT)

Apart from failing himself,Dhoni's biggest failure is his inability to use the talent available.Why bowl Zak more when Shami was more potent and effective? Why spread the field even with a lead of 200 runs on Day3? His ODI template wont work in tests and the management needs to tell him that clearly.I repeat its not about the skills or the right players..we have enough to win overseas.Its about a leader who can guide and maximize their abilities is the 1st thing needed now.Kohli should replace Dhoni as test captain.Otherwise we're looking at disastrous tours abroad.

Posted by Kingman75 on (December 30, 2013, 22:40 GMT)

India are the most overrated team in the history of cricket. So much expectation and yet they fail time and time again.

Posted by nyc_missile on (December 30, 2013, 22:36 GMT)

Time for ultra-defensive MSD to be dumped from the test squad.Gives up too early,can't bat for his life esp when needed the most,cannot lead from the front,cannot take timely decisions which are pretty much basic- like taking the new ball and letting your best bowlers give a try.Shami surely would have troubled SA batsmen.Dhoni just has no confidence in himself and hence the lack of trust in his bowlers..One ritual he does do well is after every overseas thumping, coming out with his set of pathetic excuses. Frankly this team didn't deserve to lose;under a more positive,proactive & imaginative captain would have in fact gone ahead and won it.So apart from a couple who lacked application everyone did their best.Rahane,Pujara,Kohli,Vijay,Shami etc

Posted by itischandu on (December 30, 2013, 22:35 GMT)

I don't agree with anyone here that you need to eat meat to be able to bowl fast . There are so many substitutes for meat to get the desired amount of Protein . You have to put in the extra yard in your training sessions and keep your fitness top notch to be able to bowl fast (constantly !!) . Micheal Holding was not well built and was lean but still bowled fast (he once showed on stage that he was wore size S) . Srinath despite his injuries always bowled 140+ (even in 2003 WC) and was vegetarian . Peter Siddle is a vegan and bowls 140+ consistently !!!

Posted by ahilan9999 on (December 30, 2013, 22:26 GMT)

A team should concentrate on their strength which is spin for India, not picking Ashwin who has more than 100 wickets in 19 matches on a pitch where Peterson is able to take 4 wickets. Also the first innings collapse of 5/14 after being 5/320 may have cost India the match. Ashwin the batsman averaging nearly 40 with already 2 hundreds may have been handy.

Posted by Shongololo on (December 30, 2013, 22:20 GMT)

While there are undoubtedly positives India can take from the series, mostly in the batting department where Pujara, Kohli and Rahane look the goods, the biggest negative, I think, has been Dhoni's uninspired captaincy. He was super negative in Jo'burg when his team was clearly in front, he was doubly super negative in Durban when he didn't take the new ball. He came not wishing to lose rather than aiming to win and he got his just rewards. Also, let's remember that the Wanderers wasn't a traditional Wanderers wicket and Kingsmead was more akin to the roads they dish up in India. Durban was tailor-made for India and they still lost by 10 wickets.

Posted by WC2011Champs on (December 30, 2013, 22:17 GMT)

SA tour was short but timely to separate the wheat from the chaff. Here are the findings: 1) Preserve rare gems of test cricket - Vijay, Pujara, Rahane. Do not adulterate their technique and temperament by forcing them into ODIs or T20s. They can play few games of IPL and earn their riches but only as hobbyists. I followed Rahane all this while and could not bear his ODI and T20 struggles. Eventually his 60+ FC avg and true character is exemplified in test matches. Again, Pujara and Rahane are ideal replacements of Dravid and Laxman respectively. No ODIs and no messing around with their batting order. Virat has proven his class again and he is the new Sachin. 2) Dhawan and Ashwin are not automatic XI outside subcontinent. Jadeja is a definite yes for tests and ODIs because of his stamina. Batting remains his only worry if he can ensure 30 runs innings. 3) Rohit, fool them once shame on you but fool them so many times shame on them (selectors). Do not see a test career here.

Posted by cricmatters on (December 30, 2013, 22:13 GMT)

Lack of preparation and poor team selection cost India the series. I think Dhoni is an ideal one day and T20 captain who is always thinking about safety first but to win Test matches, you have to go out of your box and plan for each wicket instead of waiting for batsman to make a mistake. India should consider playing two spinners regularly. I would have picked both Ashwin and Jadeja in this match and dropped Ishant Sharma. The way India capitulated in this match after leading from 198 for 1 was horrible to watch. May be we should get a new coach and new training staff to stop all those dropped catches in the first match.

Posted by AH_USA on (December 30, 2013, 22:03 GMT)

Dhoni is a fine ODI player and that is about it. He is not that great of a captain that he is often portrayed as and his away test record is a proof of that. When IND plays tests at home, there is not much strategy needed as its batsmen generally score runs, spinners take wickets and results are normally favorable. However, when IND plays away series, it is a altogether a different ballgame. The same captain who looks rock solid at home does not know how to strategize. When IND lost two consecutive series last year with a margin of 0-8, flaws in MSD's captaincy looked quite evident. He was not offering any mentoring or inspiration. He would just stand behind the wickets quietly and that was about it. Taking gloves off and start bowling every now and then may earn you a nickname of "cool" but does not hide your flaws.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2013, 21:33 GMT)

With the 3 day turnaround time between the two tests and given the amount of bowling Indian pacers had to put in, I think MSD missed a trick by picking the same 3 pacemen for Durban. Probably, a fresh pair of Umesh and Bhuvi in place of may be Zaheer and Ishant would have given him a more fresh, energetic set of bowlers to work with. Shami, off course looked like the most threatening of the lot so, he had to be in.

Posted by Avidcricketlover on (December 30, 2013, 21:23 GMT)

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?class=1;filter=advanced;home_or_away=2;opposition=1;opposition=2;opposition=3;opposition=4;opposition=5;orderby=batting_average;qualmin1=1000;qualval1=runs;team=25;team=6;team=7;team=8;template=results;type=batting

found Dravid, Gavaskar and Sachin to be the only three sub-continent batsmen who are averaging over 50 outside of sub-continent.

Sangakkara barely has touched 40. Jayawardene and Samaraweera averaging in 30's.

With all the paper critics here, show us where are your great batsmen performing in those foreign countries !!!

Posted by jerryman on (December 30, 2013, 21:15 GMT)

Dhoni should give up test captaincy and hand the reins to another player. Time to retire from tests

Posted by ksrajavel87 on (December 30, 2013, 21:10 GMT)

i wonder why nobody talking about MSD's test batting in overseas. He is really a weak weak link in batting, He should retire from tests now for the sake off indian test team team goodness.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2013, 20:59 GMT)

Many say that Dhoni is the best wicket keeper batsman India have ever produced. Even someone try to compare with wicket keepers from other countries. Absolutely no doubt Dhoni is the best ODI wicket keeper batsman india have ever seen. But for tests he is certainly not the best. Forget about the past wicket keepers he is not even the best among his contemporaries in India. If we see the test match averages outside the subcontinent for various india wicket keepers here is the list: 1.D.karthick - 37.2... 2.F.engineer- 32.67... 3. MSD - 28.66.....4. more- 28.55... 5.kirmani- 24.81... 6.D. dasgupta- 22.80....7.P.patel - 22.10. I am very sure that his average will come below to that of K.more and kirmani at the end of the next year after playing in NZ and england.

Posted by nainil0683 on (December 30, 2013, 20:54 GMT)

I am happy to see my initial wish of seeing South Africa bat 4 times in this series, though I am an Indian. From what it looks like Kohli and Pujara are the drivers of Indian batting outside India and probably outside sub-continent. The rest are all puppets outside India. I always expected Rohit to fail as he's seen too much success on the over and overly played Indian conditions. Dhawan constantly gets starts and throws it away. Vijay puts some runs. Although I am not a Vijay fan, I feel that out of the current Indian side, Vijay holds textbook techniques for drives, very beautifully done. Rahane is gaining valuable experience batting at No. 6 which is very alien to him as he has always opened the innings for Mumbai. And finally we come to Dhoni. Getting out same way over and over again. Just place 4 slips, bring in your pacers and watch Dhoni give catching practice to those slippers. He needs to pick up his game otherwise Parthiv is knocking the doors with some strong performances.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2013, 20:42 GMT)

I am afraid now what India will do after this humiliation in both tests and ODI, actually I am big fan of indian batting but in recent years they are more focusing on generating revenues then focusing on Cricket, they want to play less and earn more that is clearly the case here they reached South Africa a day or two or may be bit more ahead of the series started so whats the result they have less match practice and eventually they lost to SA, and in the test when they have some sort of form going the series is over as they have only 2 tests to play, who knows if that is a full fledged series like 4-5 tests India might bounce back from no where, but due to their busy schedule and ability to earn/generate revenue for their board they are only allowed for a short tour which happened after a long struggle by SA board and even they have to step down their Chief to get Indian big players to play in front of their crowd, common enough is enough stop it India and please focus on cricket.

Posted by Rawdy.Raathore on (December 30, 2013, 20:04 GMT)

Lots of positives...Yes even we lost 2 ODis and 1 test. IF 1st test has Jadeja instead of Ashwin and 2nd test's first day no bad light in 3rd session, the results would have been different.

Don't forget that this is one of the VERY BEST fast bowliing attact of the time, and playing in home conditions. Teamns like AUS, PAK, ENg were bowled out for less than 100 by them. Well played india, irrespective of results.

Also positive is that tyhe ashwin/jadeja swap was instant and no time waste. 400+ score and on 5th day the LEAD spinner inffective, reflects poorly on ashwin's resume.

Posted by BillyCC on (December 30, 2013, 20:04 GMT)

Dhoni is a really bad captain. Twice he was in a position to do something tactically beneficial in this test series and he always chose the wrong options and ended up losing the series.

Posted by SaudAlvi on (December 30, 2013, 20:02 GMT)

@ashok16 - That is exactly what I wonder why not play with 4 bowlers when you can't get 20 wickets?... I imagine if India had another spin options with Jadeja they could have won both tests (SA are chokers despite what the stats say about recent wins). Even if they picked Ashwin - who knows nothing about spin it would be a better team mix.

Posted by batsman00007 on (December 30, 2013, 20:02 GMT)

Dhoni being happy is just sad. His record as a captain outside subcontinent and as a batsmen as well are pathetic.

Posted by Rawdy.Raathore on (December 30, 2013, 19:54 GMT)

On the first day of 2nd test, if the bad light has NOT stopped the play, the result would have been different. SA bowlers were tired. India were 180 for 1 and Pujara would have whipped SA tired bowling in the third session just like he did in 1st test. Overall, Promising India test team. Overseas bowling attack will need some improvement as Dhoni said.

Posted by cooljack_143 on (December 30, 2013, 19:38 GMT)

No other international team has such great backing for their players than MSD .The players perform with confidence that no matter what happens they have their man MSD to take care of them,hence you see good performances from kohli,pujara,Ashw Murali vijay,Jadeja, Rohit(sub continent),Dhawan(sub cont)& Now Rajhane,Bhuvi, Shami.No other captain would have backed them as did MSD,He is the best.Its players ,bowlers who need to perform.Give him Steyn,Morkel and see what he does.With these mediocre bowlers he has to be defensive.Think practical and move ahead!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (December 30, 2013, 19:37 GMT)

India needs big, strong pace bowlers. Pankaj Singh and Imtiaz Ahmed are 2 such bowlers playing in Ranji Trophy and doing quite well. Why not try them instead of mediocre Ishant Sharma and Mohit Sharma? Varun Aron is another good bowler, but he has a tendency to break down.

Posted by cric_follower on (December 30, 2013, 19:32 GMT)

MSD is the weakest link in India's batting overseas. His technique provides a unique dilemma. Very effective in the sub-continent and extremely poor outside of it. May be he should consider retirement from test cricket. Also what experience was the bowling lacking? Apart from Shami all the bowlers are very very seasoned. Ishant Sharma has played 50+ test matches. Ashwin needs a serious re-look. He has been very easy to read. Zaheer is not the same menacing bowler. His days are numbered, even with the new fitness that he has acquired. Jadeja needs to put some 30s/40s with an occasional 100. The batting apart from Dhoni looks very re-freshing though. Above all BCCI needs to check the schedule. Why not keep 5 days rest between test matches.

Posted by BnH1985Fan on (December 30, 2013, 19:28 GMT)

Sorry, India doesn't quite have as much to take home from this series as Dhoni suggests. Despite batting well for portions of both matches, they were defensive. They loaded up on batting at the cost of an extra bowler who could have helped. This might be the reason why Dhoni opted to stem the run flow rather than go for wickets. For someone who is reputed as an attacking batsman, Dhoni sure is very defensive. No risk no reward!

India are very lucky to not have lost both tests.

Pujara, Kohli, Rahane, to some extent Vijay and Jadeja have something to brag about. Everyone else was more or less a passenger.

Powers that be will never make good changes, so continue to expect mediocre performance from team India, and take solace in individual performances rather than team wins.

Posted by Marshal_Bouncer on (December 30, 2013, 19:28 GMT)

I think Dhoni's decision not to take a new ball-boomerang on him. It seemed working fine for some time, but the same decision made majority of indian bowlers (Pace Bowlers) lose their confidence. He just cant implement this kind of plan when you are playing with only one spinner - this is a basic Rule. However Dhoni altogether thinks differently at times-Some times it clicks -sometimes won't. It seems T20 cricket hurts india more than any other team. We could neither a world class seemer nor a World class Spinner in recent times. But there is no point in blaming Present Indian Bowlers.They did worked hard- But SA is a very strong team- with 4 world class bowlers and 8 dangerous batsmen. SO this Loss is a reality check for indian team. Especially for those who got superstar status on indian-flat tracks by hitting tons of runs - and those who toyed touring batsmen with successive 5 wicket hauls.

Posted by thinkgood on (December 30, 2013, 19:11 GMT)

MSD is a great leader. This team NEEDS him. However he can only be effective he bats also as well as he leads as a captain. Dhoni the batsman is receding in the background of the demands of captaincy. Captaincy is hard. Cook is failed in the Ashes for example due to pressure. But MSD has to pull his old bat out of the closet and swing it hard like he used to - for the sake of these young turks in the team.

Posted by ashok16 on (December 30, 2013, 19:10 GMT)

If our batting so good and bowling so bad, why do we keep playing 7 batsmen and 4 bowlers? Why not play 6 batsmen and 5 bowlers with the clear expectation that one or two of these batsmen should be capable bowlers? Also we lost the series 1-0, so our batsmen didn't clearly do the job. Every one on the team should be on notice until we start winning series abroad. For too long have we worshiped under-performance in the name of batting genius. For every player in the team, we should be looking for improvements over them. Fine, Pujara can bat well but if there is one in first class cricket, who can bat as well and bowl too, we should look to give him better coaching and increasingly better opportunities. Only fear will make these cricketers improve and look to actually win.

Posted by CricOr on (December 30, 2013, 19:10 GMT)

When was the last India won matches competing fast bowling. What are the averages of Captain Dhoni and other present top batsmen away from Asia. Which Indian batsmen has best average in matches out of Asia. What is captain Dhoni's success rate out of Asia in batting and captaincy.

Posted by RickMiranda on (December 30, 2013, 19:02 GMT)

Good performance by young India, against an experienced SA. To drag SA to the fifth day in their back yard, in both test matches, is a good show. Will people on this blog stop picking on individual players!! Let us leave that to experts. As a team this combination has shown character. The worry area is the bowling, where both spin and pace lack bench strength. The six wicket bust by Steyn in the first innings and the exploitation of conditions by SA bowlers on day five was the turning point in Durban. Even the best batsmen in those conditions would finding the going tough. Good learning from this outing.... need to move on.

Posted by my2centsonthis on (December 30, 2013, 18:58 GMT)

I completely agree with BigINDFan. I am glad some one else wants Dhoni to go. He lacks imagination. When Ashwin should have been taken he did not. Definitely, the combo of Ashwin and Jadeja would have proved lethal and they would have scored more runs than Rohit Sharma. When Ishant and Shami should have bowled in tandem in the first 20-25 overs at Johannesburg's 4th innings, he cut the pace combo and brought in Ashwin when he failed in the first innings. And as a captain Batsman, he did not bend his back to stay and help Rahane. Similarly rohit didnot stay and help Rahane to score when he had to. Time to drop Rohit, Dhoni and Dhawan for the tests in that order.Bring in Jaffer, Gambhir, Rayudu. Use Bhuvi, Ishant, Zak, Ashwin , jadeja and Ojha based on conditions. ofcourse with the IPL nexus of srinivasan and Dhoni, I would be a fool to expect any meaningful changes.

Posted by AghaSportsLover on (December 30, 2013, 18:50 GMT)

@Blackholesun -- If you look at the great bowlers from PAK most of them came from the punjab area where the 5 rivers flow. So it is geographical reason, food is another as Punjabis eat healthy (meat with full of protiens), their physic, and the culture in general! Fazal Mehmood, Sarfaraz Nawaz, Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Aaqib Javed, Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Irfan all hail from that region. But even if you take the region and climate out of the picture, one must eat a lots of meat to be able to have strong body/muscle and then take the next step.

Posted by Waves239 on (December 30, 2013, 18:48 GMT)

India played well against the odds and expectations, but to win a test match India as a unit lacked intent and resources. When the surface is flat, you want someone from bowling group to bowl fast and accurate lines to trouble batsmen and raise the body language of unit, that's what Steyn did in first innings and India lacked that intent. Coming to the resources, a fast bowling all rounder is pretty important member in pace conditions. India hardly groomed one!

Worst part is 2 test series. 2 more would have been challenging experience to this young batting turks. Bowling did not look threatening so does the result. Happy that they came up with a fight and hope they learn from experience! Looking forward for NZ tour. All the best team India!

Posted by Nag3 on (December 30, 2013, 18:45 GMT)

Please give captaincy for tests to Kohli. He leads by example and brings the required aggression to team. It can also relieve Dhoni and he can concentrate on WC 2k15

Posted by SlingshotPace on (December 30, 2013, 18:44 GMT)

@Blackholesun - Body types, diet (meat), natural aggression and former idols who young players look up to are all valid variables in the difference in fast bowling between the two countries. Take a look at Pakistani fast bowlers and you can see a visible difference in body type and/or aggression levels compared to their Indian counterparts

Posted by GlobalCricketLover on (December 30, 2013, 18:43 GMT)

A bit strange to see the captain 'happy' with performances on the tour even when they didn't win a single match in the entire ODI/Test series...wonder what his base expectation level was.. Even a weaker team like Pak (at least on paper) did much better. Sure, there were certain positives for IND like Pujara, Kohli etc. but saying 'we performed really well'?

Posted by android_user on (December 30, 2013, 18:43 GMT)

Ajinkya Rahane batted very well and I think that he will be the future of india .

Posted by rocket123 on (December 30, 2013, 18:41 GMT)

Same old, same old. Indian batting save Dravid is just a flat track bully. Subcontinental type pitch yet they could not deliver. The batsmen pushed the envelope way too much in the Ist Test but for how long in each test they would be able to do. This test just showed that. On top of this bowling is so pathetic that can not even defend 450 runs in the kitty. First test was a fluke and 2nd Test showed a good bowling attack and India as always can not withstand the intense and constant pressure. Bottom Line: India does not have an Xfactor that could single handedly win a match and series one after another outside India. Aus has Xfactor in their batting and bowling. Pakistan has had always Xfactor as a bunch of talented players who could turn the match upside down. Be happy with this or that ranking mostly made up in India.

Posted by GRVJPR on (December 30, 2013, 18:23 GMT)

First thing is to get Rid of DHoni, then automatically we can get rid of Zak as he is Dhoni's favorite bowler. Pass on captaincy (in tests only ) to Mr. Kohli who leads by example and provide him with at least 3 super quick bowlers and a leg spinner to work with. Umesh yadav, Shami, plus 3 more quicks in Squad from now on. Bye Bye to Zak and 6 months rest to Ishant.

Posted by Blackholesun on (December 30, 2013, 18:10 GMT)

I cannot understand why can't India produce fast bowlers and it has always surprised me how come Pakistan is able to produce so many of them ! What is wrong with India. Both countries have almost similar diet and climatic conditions. Any ideas guys?

Posted by wapuser on (December 30, 2013, 18:10 GMT)

Rahane batted very well,but he missed century

Posted by MasterClass on (December 30, 2013, 18:07 GMT)

One thing to ponder when comparing AB to Pujara as the two best batsmen on this tour, and also the SA lineup with the Indian lineup, is that AB & SA lineup did not have to face Steyn & Co. Instead they had to deal with a below average Zak & Co. The real test for AB & the SA lineup will be Australia when they tour next year and hopefully MJ still has his mojo (because he too can blow hot & cold).

Posted by glen1 on (December 30, 2013, 18:07 GMT)

By selecting the wrong bowlers for the second test, Dhoni and his advisers may have killed any interest in Test Cricket for the largest viewing public. If Bhuvanesh had replaced Zaheer, at least one would have learnt something about future prospects. It was clear as daylight that the previous bowling unit could not win with 450 runs and 1.5 days. So, Ashwin and Zack had to go, minimally. Time to focus only on limited overs cricket.

Posted by BigINDFan on (December 30, 2013, 18:04 GMT)

MSD's test captaincy lacks aggression and drive - missing the helicopter shot type thinking. Bad decision picking 3 pacers for the Durban test - Zak and Shami should have been fine and Ashwin and Jadeja would have made a difference. If Ishant and Shami cannot bend their backs then pick Yadav for Ishant at least Shami is accurate. There is no excuse for letting Faf and Peterson score a century partnership - can you imagine them doing that with Pak or Aus? Don't tell me Ind bowlers are young - Ishant and Zak are not either they deliver or leave. Fletcher-MSD combo is not aggressive. Get Kohli as captain and MSD should play as wicketkeeper batsmen. His batting is pathetic in tests.

SA will struggle since Smith is also like MSD in thinking and is lucky to have Steyn and ABD in his side. Aus will blow SA batsmen away unless Amla shows up. I like Clarke's captaincy compared to the others right now.

Well played India but MSD should have pushed for a win! Better luck in NZ!

Posted by   on (December 30, 2013, 18:00 GMT)

so....this was the first test series after fab 4 era....now we have to look what positives we may have....pujara can replace dravid....kohli can replace sachin...and temperament and determination shown by rahane made us feel as laxman was batting....but rohit should be replaced by gambhir.shami is a hope for future...and bhuwneswar should be come in place of ishant.ashwin should be replaced by bhajji or jadeja should play as spinner as he can take wickets at any pitch.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2013, 17:57 GMT)

The Indian batting fared really well.. Though you would be a little disappointed with the way Rohit Sharma went about his batting..overall it was good batting from an inexperienced line up against the best bowling unit in the world..but Zak and Ishant have already toured around the world and you would expect them to have bowled a lot better..if they cant bend their back and extract some life out of the pitch now..wonder when they would be able to..Ashwin's consistency as a bowler and Jadeja's batting are 2 areas where there is scope for improvement..but this series has really helped as an evaluation of the Indian skill set..the next exam is in Australia where the bowlers again have to extract something out of the pitch..All the Best India

Posted by lsekhar on (December 30, 2013, 17:55 GMT)

We need better bowling- Zaheer and ishant need to go, and should be replaced. Ashwin needs to improve his spinning performance,a nd should also improve his batting (needs mor etraining, and better chances), because he can be the all rounder that we lack. In the last test, if we had played Aswin instead of Rohit Sharma, we may have won, considering that we had only one spinner, and the only other effective bowler was Mohammed Shami. Why not devleop some pitches in India in specific places (Chennai, Mohali, etc) which are closer to the pitches our batsmen face when they are outside of India? Al least 50% of our pitches should be fast, and bouncy, and grassy. It will also help our spinners to become better bowlers. Rohit Sharma should be dropped forever. Dhoni is nearing the end of his captaincy!

Posted by GRVJPR on (December 30, 2013, 17:54 GMT)

The fact that there were 3 Batsmen from Indian side who scored above 200 runs in 2 match series and none from south africa is a commendable performance. But What about bowling? We couldn't win with 458 runs in bank. Selectors now focus on bowling as batsmen have done reasonably against the best bowling attack in world and they will do better against other teams as there is no one of quality of steyn, morkel and philander. We need to get rod of Zaheer Khan as when he is around we are forced to make Yadav sit out. Umesh Yadav did very well in australia in test matches and his greater pace would have surely helped. Also we need a good leg spinner against teams like south africa and england. Also accept DRS please, as we pay more for not using it then other teams.

Posted by ignatius_bglr on (December 30, 2013, 17:49 GMT)

As an Indian Cricket Fan today got hurt by the result of second test match. Need to have a change in the team. I feel in India in test series other than the squad played in SA can win a test series against any nation if the selection of players purely based on Ranji Trophy's performance. Now the question is how to find the players who can really play well in bouncy track also, it is the matter of concern and the selectors need to find the solution as quick as possible to prevent the Indian fans stop seeing their national team losing games consequently in an abroad.

Posted by prasanna_79 on (December 30, 2013, 17:49 GMT)

My marks for the Indian bowlers based on the performances in this series: Jadeja - 7/10 ( Very gud control & took up a huge workload..,needs to improve on changes of pace n trajectory to become a world beater ) Shami - 6/10 ( Gud pace , very gud attitude but lacking in control n consistency ) Ishant - 5/10 ( Very hard worker n a good trier but should improve in his consistency & wrist position.., n should drastically reduce the boundary balls ) Zaheer - 4/10 ( looked a mere shadow of himself.., particularly in the second test..,past his shelf life i suppose ) Umesh too needs to improve his control of length n consistency of lines to be very successful in tests..,also needs to be a bit more aggressive n intimidating ( not by words but by deeds.., its really funny to see philander- a bowler bowling in early 130s having a go @ our batsmen & staring them long & hard but umesh giving a wry smile when he goes for runs or when he beats a batsman ) Bhuvi too seems to have lost consistency..

Posted by diri on (December 30, 2013, 17:45 GMT)

King Kallis ...The king of kings...The most valuable player the world has ever seen or will see. There will never be another like him again. India can think Sachin was the greatest but the rest of the world knows that Kallis was better and more valuable. If my life depended on it I would rather have kallis at the crease instead of Sachin....Thank you KING Kallis. We will miss you

Posted by balajit on (December 30, 2013, 17:42 GMT)

Fair result. SA were better team in terms of recognizing key moments & winning it. Overall good performance by team India especially the young batsmen. Bowling as usual remains a huge worry, inability to take wickets remain a big problem. need strike bowlers who can bowl teams out. Zaheer & ishant not effective at all. need to change both. not quite sure ashwin can be effective outside but surely better batsman than jadeja. Dhoni needs to step up as keeper batsman as once he falls slide starts & basically the team doesnt have tail. He has to attack & hope to score some quick runs as his defence is not good overseas. cant blame him for captaincy as cant do much with this bowling. One more series lost in SA where Ind even had a chance to win the series if not for the bowling.

By the way what is our bowling coach doing? We all understand & accept bowling is a problem. So the question is - is coach bad or bowlers bad? is he imparting right things? or the bowlers not good enough to learn?

Posted by ABHI-DCricketFan on (December 30, 2013, 17:40 GMT)

I think what Dhoni has said is right but the fact is he has played enough tests to know the things which he is saying. But that didn't show in both of his innings in this match. Clearly Dhoni in tests overseas is a liability and it is time to hand over the reins to kohli. maybe then we will be able to see a better batsman in Dhoni aur a better batsman in place od him

Posted by crick_wizard on (December 30, 2013, 17:37 GMT)

Dhoni is talking like the captain of a team which is playing test cricket for the first time..he made it sound that this serious is a resounding success..of course it is true that this is an inexperienced team, but only the batting is inexperienced..and they have batted pretty well for that..but its absurd to say that the bowlers (Zaheer, Ishant and Ashwin) are inexperienced and are still learning..india has major problems in bowling department and only when that is acknowledged and something done about it, things will get better...

Posted by   on (December 30, 2013, 17:34 GMT)

Dhoni should drop from captaincy for tests. He has the worst test record overseas recently. And he is not a good test player. Any indian player can captain in inida. So forget about the in india record. Dhoni is very defensive and lacks in tactics. Its no point blaming the blowers all the time where the captain does not have good game plan or tactics. If we are weak in bowling why cant we go for 5 bowlers ? since both Jedeja and Ashwin can bat. Why there are no change in the batting order ? Since Rahane was in form he should have batter at no.5 and Rohit could have batted no.6. Its the captain responsibility to do something when things are not going in your way. But he is too defensive and dont have right tactics to handle alien condition. Which in turn gives the feeling that they are not preparing well for overseas tours. So drop dhoni from captaincy and make Kohli or even any bowler as captain like ashwin who as a good cricket brain. So that we have captain who understand bowlers.

Posted by Batmanindallas on (December 30, 2013, 17:33 GMT)

Dhoni's batting as a number 7 should be looked into. He has not performed abroad at all for a long time. Maybe he needs to hand in his gloves to someone who can bat may be Patel or Saha who can bat and Saha is a better keeper than Dhoni. Patil and company have done lot of bold things hopefully they will talk to Dhoni about retiring from Test and focus on shorter games. I have a feeling he is waiting to complete 100 tests..just my two cents

Posted by prasanna_79 on (December 30, 2013, 17:29 GMT)

My marks for the Indian batsmen based on performances in the 2 tests. Virat Kohli - 9/10 ( one of the 2 best batters from both sides along with ABD with the correct attitude & always on the look out for runs ) Cheteswar - 8/10 ( A water tight technique to go with appetite for big runs..,but needs to improve on rotating the strike) Rahane - 8/10 ( Good technique & very gud temperament..,needs to improve on rotating the strike) M.Vijay - 7/10 ( Very gud temperament & application..,needs to turn the strike over more frequently) Dhawan - 5/10 ( Never looked out of place but should def improve on shot selection & clarity of thought..,he could have easily played his natural game in the last innings & tried to erase the deficit quickly & could have confused Smith a little bit ) Dhoni - 4/10 ( never lacking in attitude but very much in application..,should def improve his game against swing ) Rohit & Jadeja - 2/10 ( Lot of improvement reqd in technique,temperament & application..)

Posted by android_user on (December 30, 2013, 17:29 GMT)

When it was clear before the start of play that it would be a dry surface, it's mind boggling why Dhoni didn't go with two spinners, even if that meant leaving out Rohit Sharma from the game. Didn't he realize that the problem with India is not the batting but the lack of ability to take 20 wickets? This Test and series was lost to poor captaincy when it comes to selection. Pure and simple. If Ashwin & Jadeja were bowling in tandem, it's unlikely that South Africa would have got even a first innings lead.

Posted by tests_the_best on (December 30, 2013, 17:29 GMT)

For all the fame that Dhoni commands, this series only highlights what has been painfully obvious for some years that Dhoni's batting abroad leaves a lot to be desired. As has been pointed out, apart from a match saving half century in England in 2007, there's no innings of substance that Dhoni has managed outside the sc. Typically wicketkeepers are supposed to provide rearguard action like Boucher, Prior, Haddin, Sangakkara (although he's top order) have done for their teams. Dhoni's poor batting abroad is costing Ind quite a bit. Saw it in Aus and now in SA, India's lower order hardly provides any resistance. A team can't compete abroad or will fritter away advantages by playing in this manner.

Posted by smh_amt on (December 30, 2013, 17:27 GMT)

the Indian bowling was poor, no question abt that. but india did not capitalise on good starts. scoring at below 3 an over with wkts in hand let india down. add another 50 runs to the indian score in the 2nd inngs of the first test and SA would need to chase in excess of 500. huge pressure and they wld have played for a draw from the outset and most probably lost. same problem in the 2nd test.180+ with 9 wkts and still the rr never crossed 3/over. I think that cost india d series

Posted by anuajm on (December 30, 2013, 17:20 GMT)

Rahane has started brilliantly and to start off your career against SA in SA against Steyn and Philander needs some serious talent and skills. Very impressive. Rohit Sharma has been very disappointing both in ODI's and tests. Problem is that unlike Dhawan, Rohit never looked comfortable against such quality bowling. I just hope he does not get infinite chances in tests like he did in ODI's to fulfill his "talent". Its one thing batting against hapless WI bowling in Indian conditions and facing SA in SA. Let's see how he fares in NZ before passing a judgement but does not look promising. Is Dhoni a good bastman overseas? Answer is no, he is a good captain but his batting overseas is a problem, either he scores or he needs to go out. From a bowling perspective, i think spin wise we are good, i would though like to see how Ojha does overseas. But this series clearly indicated that Zak's prime is past. And that Ishant is not an international level bowler. I hope Ishant is dropped for good.

Posted by glen1 on (December 30, 2013, 17:18 GMT)

I have been following Indian Test Cricket as an extension of their excellent performance in World Limited Overs Tournaments. However, after following the India SA test series, it is pretty clear that it would be a waste of time to do so from now on. The team failed to rout out the opposition with 450 runs and 1.5 days in the first test. The opposition went into the second test with a clear approach to winning, and both India's batting and bowling was a foregone tragedy. Only limited overs cricket from now on; regardless of what the experts say about Test cricket.

Posted by CurrentPresident on (December 30, 2013, 17:15 GMT)

Diagree with Dhoni analysis. It wasn't just two sessions - those two sessions were when things materialized, but the underlying weakness was always there.

Q1. If you cannot bowl with the new ball, why do you have three pacers in your team? You knew your pacers were ineffective in the last test itself, why did you not change them around to fresh legs and play two spinners? India were virtually bowling with one bowler!

Q2. Intensity was down from last test? This was just the second test. Indian bowlers bowled well in only one innings the entire tour. How are bowlers from other countries able to bowl well in the fourth and fiftth test?

The job of the captain starts before the team steps on the field. Good captains find and fix the weaknesses of their team, no excuses. Dhoni has been a captain for 50 tests but what has he done to address the bowling weakness?

Posted by anuajm on (December 30, 2013, 17:14 GMT)

I think the overall performance by the Indian team was quite commendable. India has a lot to gain from the two tests. Barring today, India has performed admirably in the batting department against a bowling attack which has earlier reduced teams like Aus, Pak, NZ and SL to pieces. Dhoni's decision of bowling with the old bowl seemed correct with the kind of bowling attack we have, but they why not try other bowlers, i think Yadav should have played in this series. From a batting point of view, Viajy looks the part and same is with Dhawan, just that he could not leave his aggression and when he left, he was caught brilliantly. I think Dhawan will do well in foreign tours. Pujara was the best batsman on show in both sides bar AB, and was unlucky to get run out once and get the best bowl of the series today. Kohli has been the most impressive, i did not expect him to be so successful here but he is truly becoming a force in all formats in all surfaces. Continued..

Posted by Ranjit_sourav on (December 30, 2013, 17:14 GMT)

No complains ever from an Indian fan after this teams performances in the test series, with the team where all 9 players merely palyed not more than 5 test matches overseas performed far better than expected. Kudos to Kohli,Pujara,Vijay and ofcourse a surprise package Rahane.(I would give Rahane 10/10 in this series, the way he batted in 4 innings and 2 brilliant runouts which rescued India drawing the first one)

Posted by rphanikanth on (December 30, 2013, 17:10 GMT)

The Indian team definitely exceeded expectations, especially after the mauling in the ODI series. However, we should have shown more intent to win the Test after scoring 334 in the first innings. From the end of Day 3, it looked like India wanted to draw the Test. There was no aggression from the team even though SA were behind in the 1st innings. It looked like the team never believed it could win.

However, this is a young team and I hope they will perform much better in NZ.

Posted by MasterClass on (December 30, 2013, 17:09 GMT)

A mature Dhoni touching on absolutely all the important points. Has to be influence of Fletcher behind the scene. Spot on about capitalizing on moments of ascendancy and reading the game. Marvelous batting nucleus to build on. Bowling, not so good - but we didn't even try all the bowlers and NONE of the young prospects (Bhuvi & Yadav) so can't make any conclusion there as of yet. One can say that despite Zaks improved fitness we need to phase him out and nurture a new leader of the pace attack. India's problem is that unfortunately Ishant, the person with the most experience, does not seem ready. Although in WI a few years back when this responsibility was placed on his shoulder he did well, so who knows. He certainly has the heart to give 110%.

Posted by Capricorn60 on (December 30, 2013, 17:07 GMT)

Dhoni can make all the excuses he wants & accept his pace bowling attack is quite mediocre but totally agree with Dravid that he should have shown positive intent by taking the new ball first thing yesterday morning & tried to whittle away the remaining SA wickets. After all you had Steyn at the crease & Kallis who was batting conservatively whilst approaching a century in his last match. Even Jadeja would have got more bounce with the new ball. Instead we just gave the SA lots of freebie runs, then their bowlers like Peterson later on slaughtered our hapless seamers & the Test was effectively lost then by India. Been a big fan of Dhoni for the success he has brought the team over the years but maybe time has come to hand the Test captaincy to someone new.

Posted by Karunk on (December 30, 2013, 17:04 GMT)

Dhoni - As the players play more Tests and get more experience, they will make sure that it's important to capitalise when the bowlers are tired. Dhoni has played 81 tests & 238 ODI's. Not sure how many more tests he needs to correct his batting technique in test cricket while playing abroad. It is a pathetic sight to see him hanging his bat outside the off stump and get caught in slips.In both innings Rahane was batting beautifully and holding off Steyn & company. The slide started when Dhoni got out cheaply in both innings. His faulty technique got him out and not excellent bowling.

Posted by amitdashore on (December 30, 2013, 16:59 GMT)

dhoni alone is to be blamed for this loss! on a pitch where R peterson took 4 wickets, he should have picked ashwin n jadeja both in the team n may be dropped rohit or dhawan (rahane can open), n may be brought umesh for ishant given ishant's record on flat tracks. also it was a horrible shot that he got out when already top 5 were back. he should have supported rahane as long as possible and tried to draw the match.

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Players/Officials: MS Dhoni
Series/Tournaments: India tour of South Africa
Tour Results
South Africa v India at Durban - Dec 26-30, 2013
South Africa won by 10 wickets
South Africa v India at Johannesburg - Dec 18-22, 2013
Match drawn
SAf Invit XI v Indians at Benoni - Dec 13-14, 2013
Match abandoned without a ball bowled
South Africa v India at Centurion - Dec 11, 2013
No result
South Africa v India at Durban - Dec 8, 2013
South Africa won by 134 runs
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