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Former South Africa pace bowler Shaun Pollock has admitted that he was surprised by the fact that India’s batsmen failed to fire during the three-Test series against the Proteas.
Apart from captain Virat Kohli, who averaged 47.66, the rest of India’s batting line-up failed to make their presence felt during the series, which they lost 2-1.
Pollock admitted that he was shocked by this, especially as he thought India’s batting was the strongest facet of their game.
“I was a little bit surprised by their batting,” he was quoted as saying by NDTV. “When they came on this tour I thought it was going to be their strength. I was a bit disappointed by the way they went (in the Test series).”
The 44-year-old also questioned whether India had prioritised winning the Test series or securing their first-ever bilateral ODI series win in South Africa, which they achieved in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.
“Looking back, I think they have identified that preparation-wise they needed to be here for more time,” he said. “I suppose it goes down to what are the actual goals you want to achieve. If you want to win Test series away from home, then you have to give them more priority. And priority means more preparation.
“I think going out to England, we have heard some guys are going to play county cricket. So preparation wise I think they will be better equipped when they go there or to Australia.
“We have seen they are now settled in ODIs. Probably they could have structured the tour better and had ODIs before Tests, and that could have been better preparation for India.
“I think practice matters. You need to have two practice matches and have a guarantee that you are genuinely good opposition than just developing players. You have to set your goals.
“Is it a great thing to win the ODI series or is it a great achievement to come and win a Test series in South Africa, which you haven’t done? Maybe that is where the priorities haven’t met the same preparation.”
While the spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav have bamboozled South Africa throughout the ODI series, Kohli has also led by example as he is the highest scorer with 429 runs in five matches, which includes two centuries and a fifty, at an average of 143.
“He wasn’t fearful of the conditions and he wanted to grind out performances,” Pollock said. “He obviously came here with the right mindset. I thought the rest of the batting group would have been similar, but there wasn’t anyone else who supported him particularly in the Tests.”
There has also been a lot of debate about Kohli’s aggression and whether it inspires or is detrimental to the team. Providing his two cents, Pollock said: “I am not saying aggression is what he is offering, but its more the attitude that I can back myself, win the battle and come out on top.
“Malcolm Marshall taught me to have a great respect for the opposition but also to have a great self-belief that wherever you come up against them, you respect them but you win the battle.
“I think that is what he wants to install (in the Indian team), and the confidence.”