Congratulations to India. We were outplayed and a drawn series is probably a fair result, though I’m sure we’d all like another Test match to settle the result one way or the other! We still back ourselves to perform in all conditions and our season, which started in Karachi in October, has shown that we are able of adapting with two wins and a draw on the subcontinent as well as two wins at home.
Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel have not played in India before and, with age on their side, South Africa will be even better placed to bid for a series win next time we return here. I’m not sure when that will be, but I want another crack! Hopefully we can avoid Kanpur next time. Two Tests here are enough!
It is extremely hard for a touring team to win here as India’s record of losing just two series in the last 20 years shows. At least I was a part of the South African team in 2000 that managed that feat so I know how good and rewarding it feels. Hopefully I will still be around for one last chance to do it again in a few years. Perhaps I’ll be bowling off-spin by then!
There has been so much talk about the pitch that I am reluctant to add to the debate, if it is a debate. I would imagine that, with India having won and squared the series, the argument should be pretty much over. It was a gamble to order such a poor wicket and it could easily have backfired. If it had, then the debate would be open, but the gamble worked.
I am a traditionalist when it comes to pitches and I believe that the surface for a Test match should have something for everybody. Some pace and movement for the quick bowlers, good batting conditions in the middle and then help for the spinners on the last two days.
Every South African team I have been a part of has aimed to be the best team in the world and, in order to achieve that, we have always known that the ability to play in all conditions around the world is essential.
Like India, we have been pretty dominant at home and have only lost series to Australia on our own turf. But we have also been competitive away from home beating everyone (apart from Australia!) at some point.
India should be aiming for the number one spot, too, but they will need to improve on ‘good’ piches. The only way to do that, of course, is to play more games on ‘good’ pitches. I’m sure that is a target that Gary Kirsten will have in his sights.
As far as many of us are concerned now, it’s a question of getting back to South Africa as soon as possible to play in our domestic Twenty20 competition before returning to play in the IPL. I’ll be teaming up with Dale and Mark Boucher under Rahul Dravid’s captaincy in Bangalore.
We have two days to absorb the result here and then concentrate once again. I’ll share my IPL thoughts with you before we leave!
(Hawkeye Communications / Chivach Sports)
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