Veteran batsman Hashim Amla has admitted that India played quality cricket throughout the series and it was an eye-opener for them before the marquee tournament like World Cup. India has won the series after registering a 73-run win in Port Elizabeth. The sixth ODI will be played tomorrow and India will be eyeing to finish this series on a high note.
Amla feels they have never been in this position for a while. “I don’t think in one-day cricket we’ve been in this position. Maybe in 2008 in England, when we didn’t have a good one-day series but there are always positives and learning to take from it,” Amla told reporters.
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“We’ve got a few younger guys in the team who will think, ‘Phew, one-day cricket is tough.’ But thankfully it will only get easier for them because we haven’t played our best cricket. We’ve played decent cricket in patches but sub-par cricket from what we’re used to.”
The opening batsman is seeing this defeat as the blessing in disguise ahead of the World Cup in England. “When it comes to other series or World Cups we’ll be better prepared. Also, we have won so many series in the past back to back, we were very fortunate and none of us took it for granted. But to lose a series like this gets your feet back on the ground,” he added.
“As a one-day unit you are always searching for certain things here or there, and I’m sure this has given us that impetus. When you’re playing well and someone has a brilliant inning, cracks can be covered. But when you lose in this manner, whatever adjustments need to be made, you focus on it more. For me, that’s a very positive thing.”
Amla said there will be a lot of pride at stake for the host in the sixth and final ODI.
“The World Cup is not far away. India is probably playing their best team. Whatever experience we get against them we will take forward. It is (easy to motivate ourselves). At every stage in the series, you look at the positives. Now the positive is you want to end the series on a good note. The coach has a long-term vision and a few ideas up his sleeve, and he has the opportunity to play that. That will give us motivation,” he said.
Hash feels Indian spin duo was exceptional throughout the series. He quoted, “They’ve been bowling decently and the younger guys and everybody really have learned more about themselves playing spinners. There has never been an issue before even when we’ve played wrist spinners around the world.”
Afterwards, he termed Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav was the difference between two teams. “Their spinners have played a role as the highest wicket-takers in the series, which is not very common (in South Africa). They’ve bowled well, and it seemed like we took our first three games to get used to it. We’ve got better in the last three games,” Amla mentioned.
“We’ve played decently well against their spinners, but they’ve been the difference, to be honest. They’ve picked up wickets in the middle period and there’s no better way to stop the scoring.”
He concluded while praising Aiden Markram’s captaincy in his debut series while holding the reins of the team.
“I’ve been very impressed with Aiden on the field. He is very composed and has a good idea of what he would like. As a captain, if you don’t score runs then the first thing that gets attributed to you is, ‘Oh, the captaincy has affected your batting.’ It certainly happened when I was captain and I’ve seen the same cliche for other guys,” he commented.
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“Aiden is still young in international cricket. Obviously, it was a great opportunity for him to captain and I think he’s learned so much about captaining and also about batting when you are a captain in international cricket. He’s only going to get better.”
India has been 4-1 ahead in the series and will try to win the series.