The expectation is high as Team India gears up to erase the haunting memory of never clinching a Test series victory on South African soil. Following an intense three-match red-ball showdown, the spotlight now turns to the upcoming two-Test series set to kick off on the 26th of this month.
Under the leadership of Rohit Sharma, India is poised to field a formidable team in the Tests. Renowned former player and commentator, Sanjay Manjrekar, recently shared his insights on what India needs to do to emerge victorious in this series. Speaking on Star Sports’ show Game Plan, Manjrekar highlighted a crucial factor: India’s potency in this series predominantly lies in their batting prowess rather than their bowling strength. He emphasized that if the batsmen deliver robust performances, India stands a great chance of clinching the series.
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Challenges in Batting Lineup
Manjrekar rightly pointed out the significance of Rohit Sharma’s return to the Test fold, highlighting that his absence during India’s previous Test series in South Africa was felt. However, he also noted the absence of seasoned campaigners like Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane, indicating that the Indian batting lineup will face a stern examination this time around. The onus falls on the likes of Shubman Gill, Yashaswi Jaiswal, and Shreyas Iyer to step up and make their mark in batting. These youngsters are yet to test their mettle in a South African Test series, and their adaptability to the challenging pitches with pace and bounce remains to be seen.
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Even Rohit Sharma, despite his experience, has only featured in four Tests on South African soil, yielding modest returns. Alongside Manjrekar’s observations, India’s former left-arm pacer and all-rounder Irfan Pathan also weighed in on the upcoming Test series. Emphasizing the importance of the new ball, Pathan pointed out a crucial missed opportunity from the previous tour.
Bowling Lapses: Learning from Past Mistakes
Reflecting on India’s near-victory, Pathan identified a pivotal flaw: the inability to hit the right areas during the second or third spell in the second innings. He believed that India could have clinched the Test series on the last tour had they bowled more effectively in those crucial phases. Pathan stressed the need for the bowling unit to shine, particularly during the latter spells of the second innings.
In summary, Manjrekar’s emphasis on India’s batting prowess and Pathan’s insights into the crucial aspects of bowling highlight the key areas India must excel in to claim victory in the upcoming Test series against South Africa. With an intriguing mix of experienced heads and youthful talent, the stage is set for an enthralling battle on South African soil. The question remains: can India finally conquer this challenging frontier?