While in the ongoing One Day International series can turn either ways with the result depending on the decider to be played on Sunday, the South Africans have already made a statement by winning the T20I series 2-0. This in turn has left innumerable questions left unanswered for the Indian team and the journey ahead seems to be a challenge. Recoveries have been made, and the fourth ODI saw India ticking boxes in each departments, but the loopholes exposed earlier left some concerns for the long run.
Where on one hand the South Africans look well drilled and oiled in each department, one or the other department for India has let them down. The only point where they have been seen having an upper hand is when they have played on turning pitches, which have made the Proteas surrender, and the last match at Chepauk was a testimony to the fact.
Going back to the t20 series, one match was washed out and in the other two India faced serious defeats owing to complete failure of the bowling department in one and the batting in the other. The stirring up of one unit for a win and complete remissness of the other has been the reason botheration and some undesired results which could have been in their favour.
Rohit Sharma played a belligerent knock scoring a century, in the first T20I, and making India set a target of 200 but on the other hand the bowling seemed to be completely at sea as the South Africans managed to prevail over and manage a fine victory. The match being played at Dharmsala had nothing quintessential for the spinners, India's most lethal weapon in terms of bowling, and the seamers were taken all over the ground by the Proteas batsmen specially Duminy who hit seven long maximums and took his team home comfortably with seven wickets and a couple of balls remaining. A solid batting show put up by the Indians went in vain owing to a lousy bowling performance.
These two matches brought forward the most chronic issues of the Men in Blue to the fore. First, the batting heavily depends on the top three and the stats reflect the same. It has to be either Rohit, Dhawan or Kohli who need to fire or the entire batting line up falls flat. If in case the batsmen put their hands up it ends up to be a bad day at office for the bowlers, which is the second and major problem. A pitch not offering much turn to the spinners, and the seamers also look ineffective. Death overs bowling which has been a constant talked about issue still seems to have not found any concrete solution.
The salient feature of this team game which is an all round performance has been what the Indian team hasn't been able present. The similar fashion continued in the one dayers where although the margin might have been minute but the Indians fell short twice.
A loss by merely five runs was what the Indians had to face in the very first match. The bowling was put to test first up and the visitors put up a score over 300 on board, showing the ineffectiveness of the seamers yet again. However the injury of the dangerous spinner Ashwin was a reason for things getting worse. India were there in the chase but when Rohit Sharma gave away his wicket at the wrong time after scoring a 150 it was all over. Exactly a repeat action of this took place in the third one dayer where while chasing 271 the men in blue fell short by 18 runs. They had high chances of sealing the game, the target being quite chaseable, but the falling of a set batsman, yet again, and the same story followed.
Thus, to say, with the Twenty20 World Cup being staged in India in a few months, losing to the South Africans any further at home will leave some serious problems to be looked into for the Indians. With the decider to be played on Sunday promising to be a thrilling one, and the Test series to follow, a big challenge awaits for the Men in Blue.
Their time for gearing up has come, because they need to keep up their pride at least at home, and this without any doubt, now requires some serious working over their exposed weaknesses as just a little bit of falter here and there, there are many competitors around to make the most of it, especially with the T20I World Cup in hindsight.