Aakash Chopra opens up on India’s performance in South Africa
By SMCS - Jan 24, 2022 2:15 pm
Views 20

Former India opener turned veteran commentator Aakash Chopra has said that Team India’s middle-order batting woes have cost them the ODI series against South Africa. Notably, India faced a 0-3 series whitewash. While openers did try to give them decent starts, their middle-order batters failed miserably.

team india
Team India

In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra said: “There is a middle muddle. The muddle is that if you play Rishabh Pant at No. 4, Iyer at No. 5 and whether you play Iyer or Suryakumar at No. 6 – I mean it’s just not ready right now. You are getting opportunities but you are not grasping them. I was not that critical in the first match but here I am critical because you had a chance and you should have played well, same was the case in the second match – you could not capitalize.”

However, Aakash Chopra said that the Indian top-order is not a concern. He opined on the modes of dismissals of Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant as well.

READ HERE: Gary Kirsten all set to work with Hardik Pandya

He elaborated: “If Shreyas Iyer gets out twice while playing the pull shot against bouncers – whether there was pace or not, Rishabh Pant gets out while playing an irresponsible shot – an absolutely reckless shot, playing a big shot at zero, then it is not going to work out. So there is a middle muddle that needs to be sorted out. How will that happen? I feel once Rohit comes back, you will send Rahul down the order. Then only one out of Pant, Shreyas, Surya or Ishan will be able to play, so things will look different.”

Aakash Chopra has also picked the Indian batters’ slow approach against the South African spinners as one of the reasons they lost the ODI series. They found struggling against the hosts’ spinners, who were economical.

R Ashwin
R Ashwin took just one wicket in two ODIs in South Africa

He explained: “Where is the intent? There is no intent at all against spin. They throttled us. We were the spinners, we used to do that to the others with spin. How will it work out if we are not able to play spin well? We are getting stuck in our own web. This is bizarre because there was turn but we were not able to hit Keshav Maharaj, we were not even able to find singles. We don’t even score 50 runs in 60 balls, we make 30-40 runs in front of him.”

Notably, Keshav Maharaj has conceded an average of just 4.58 runs per over in the three ODIs along with taking three wickets, including Virat Kohli in both the second and third ODIs as well.

Aakash Chopra again shared: “We even play Markram defensively. Tabraiz Shamsi comes – we hit him for two or three overs and we again get stuck against him later, not once but repeatedly. It just tells you one thing, that there is lack of intent. Our style of playing white-ball cricket looks a little obsolete, the way we are playing – that’s not okay with me. When one, two and three score runs, you will win the match and will get some false confidence but everything is not alright.”

And, the veteran believes Team India need to look at making changes to their spin attack as Ravichandran Ashwin and Jayant Yadav are not long-term prospects in ODIs as well.

Team India
Team India

Aakash Chopra added: “Our spin bowling has not been great. Ashwin was there with Yuzi Chahal and you took just three wickets in three matches. Jayant Yadav was played, he was slightly unfortunate. But Jayant Yadav is not your long-term ODI prospect any which way. So Ashwin is not there, Jayant is not there.”

READ HERE: India will struggle if Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma don’t score, says Mohammad Hafeez

The former India opener elaborated: “When you went last time, you bowled with Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal and you kept them on a tight leash. The opposing team kept a stranglehold on you, they take three wickets in one match and we took three wickets in the entire series. If we are not doing that penetrative bowling with spin, it means you need to make a change.”

“India definitely missed Jadeja but start thinking about Kuldeep or play two leg-spinners. Do anything but you need to get spinners who can pick wickets in the middle overs. Containment will not work, 55 runs in 10 overs is just not good enough. Honestly, you can get hit for 70 in 10 overs but three wickets should be there,” Aakash Chopra concluded.