Despite winning the first Test in South Africa, India couldn't carry on with the winning momentum and ended up losing 1-2.

Despite winning the first Test in South Africa, India couldn’t carry on with the winning momentum and ended up losing 1-2. This was a blow for the team, which has thumped Australia in Australia and was leading in England. The two consecutive defeats were in Johannesburg, and Cape Town spoiled India’s chances of winning their maiden red-ball series in the Rainbow nation. The team went down 0-3 in the ODIs as well. Let’s take a look at five reasons behind India’s below-par display. 

The Kohli-BCCI fallout 

Before the forgettable T20 World Cup in UAE, Virat Kohli announced that he would give up the T20 captaincy post the global event. He was later sacked from his leadership role in one-day internationals. And this was the time when a major controversy broke out. Virat refuted Sourav Ganguly’s claims that he was asked to continue as a T20I skipper. However, Chetan Sharma, the chief selector, sided with Ganguly and revealed that Virat was told to continue captaining the side in the game’s shortest format. The BCCI wanted to hit back but kept mum, considering the South Africa tour. The fallout impacted the overall performance of the team against the Proteas. 

Batting not living up to the mark

The batting unit played well in the opening Test of the series, but the competitiveness went downhill in the second and third Tests. Even in the ODI series, the batting performance was marred by ordinary shot selection.

Inconsistent bowling 

 It is fair to say that team India bowled well in the Test series but were far too inconsistent and did not keep up the pressure when it mattered the most. In the 2nd and 3rd Tests, on tough pitches in Johannesburg and Cape Town, Team India could not defend 200+ scores. India could take only three South African wickets in the second innings of both Tests. In the ODI series, bowling performance was scratchy, with South Africa scoring 280+ in each of the three ODIs. The bowling performance was very poor as bowlers cumulatively took only two SA wickets in the 1st power play. This was one of the major reasons for India’s poor show in ODIs.

Playing XI selection

India’s team selection in both the Test and ODI series was contentious. In three Tests, India persisted with the inconsistent and underperforming Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane. After his great debut against New Zealand, Shreyas Iyer did deserve a chance in the Test series. Also, Hanuma Vihari gave a good account of himself in the 2nd Test but was unceremoniously dropped from the 3rd Test. Ishant Sharma was not once included in the playing XI in the three Tests. These changes would not have guaranteed better results but served as pointers for the future, at least on the batting front. Ruturaj Gaikwad, who was sensational in IPL, was not even tried for once in the ODI series. India did miss the opportunity to try out a few youngsters, and team selection was rigid at times.

Rohit Sharma’s absence

India missed Rohit Sharma dearly in the SA Test and ODI series. He was India’s top scorer in the England red-ball matches in 2021, scoring 368 runs with a century to his name. Rohit’s curbed his instincts during the Test matches. He batted for 866 balls across the four Tests. As far as the ODI series is concerned, it has to be said that no WORLD ODI XI today can be complete without Rohit. His three double hundreds in ODIs is no mean feat. India would have loved Rohit’s presence in the ODI and Test series.

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