CENTURION – Short of getting Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav to come down and join their practice sessions, there’s not a whole lot more South Africa’s batsmen can do to improve their play against India’s two deadly wrist-spinners.
Chahal and Yadav have been instrumental in pushing the tourists to a 2-0 lead after the opening couple of games in this six-match ODI series, and Proteas batting coach Dale Benkenstein says the onus is on the players to solve the problem.
“There isn’t much more you can do in the nets, you are not going to get them to come and bowl at you... that’s the mentally tough thing about international cricket,” Benkenstein said following South Africa’s nine-wicket defeat here on Sunday.
“We’ve had two games, there are no excuses. We’ve tried, we’ve had net bowlers who are (bowling) slightly slower, and we try and replicate it as much as we can.
“As management and coaches we try and give the guys everything that we can, but at the end of the day, the batters have to work it out and play to their game plans and do the job in the middle.”
A feature of Chahal and Yadav’s bowling is the lack of pace with which they bowl, a deliberate ploy said Yadav, who picked up career-best figures of 5/22 on Sunday. “Especially on these grounds and wickets, you have to bowl a little slower,” said the 27 year old leg-spinner.
“The ground is very small, and they have big hitters. As spinners you can’t bowl faster, otherwise they will play you as medium-pacers.”
Benkenstein admitted that the Proteas batsmen have been caught napping by the lack of pace.
“We are quite amazed at how slow they bowl, and when you’re a wrist-spinner, the slower the ball, the more it turns – on any surface.
“But there are – because of the slowness – scoring opportunities, and I’d rather our batters were looking for that rather than just plodding around.”
Aiden Markram described his first experience as captain as a chastening one. “Eye-opening, definitely,” he remarked.
However, he feels Sunday’s defeat will serve as a wake-up call for the team.
“The guys are very upset and disappointed, but it’s disappointment in themselves and not in others in the team.
“Each player must look to get better now, it is a quick turnaround. It might fire the guys up going into the next four matches.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how the guys react.”