Former Pakistan leg-spinner Danish Kaneria has claimed that the Indian dressing room looked divided during the first ODI against South Africa at Paarl, which the tourists lost by 31 runs on January 19.
He added that the Indian team is divided into two groups, one on the side of stand-in captain KL Rahul and other towards former captain Virat Kohli.
“We saw that the Indian dressing room was divided into two groups. KL Rahul and Virat Kohli were sitting apart. Also, Kohli wasn’t in the same mood as he used to be when he was the captain. But he’s a team man and will come back stronger,” said Kaneria in a video on his YouTube channel.
In the first ODI, South Africa, after batting first, made 296/4 in 50 overs with Temba Bavuma (110) and Rassie van der Dussen (129) slamming centuries while sharing a 204-run stand. For India, vice-captain Jasprit Bumrah had best figures of 2/48 in his 10 overs. Barring Bumrah and Ravichandran Ashwin’s 1/53 in 10 overs, no other bowler shone for India in terms of wickets.
Kaneria felt that Rahul hadn’t shown the required intensity of a skipper in his first ODI as captain of India. “After losing the Test series, India would be eager to redeem themselves and clinch the ODI rubber. But Rahul hasn’t shown that spark until now. He had led in the Test series but wasn’t able to lift the team to break the South African partnership.
“At one stage, it didn’t look like the Proteas would put up 296 on the scoreboard. Lack of intensity from the Indian team helped the opposition in scoring such a total. There were also fielding lapses from the visitors.”
Chasing 297 on a slow and low Paarl pitch, Shikhar Dhawan (79) and Virat Kohli (51) had put India in a commanding position but after they fell, India slipped to 188/6 as the middle order failed to click. Eventually, India could reach 265/8 at the end of 50 overs with Shardul Thakur’s late unbeaten fifty going in vain.
Kaneria concluded by pointing towards the improvement areas for India, starting from Rahul. “Rahul needs to lift up captaincy and batting as well. He needs to lift the team. Also, Bhuvneshwar Kumar gave away many runs against South Africa and the Ashwin-Chahal pair didn’t look effective like the Kuldeep-Chahal duo. India didn’t use Venkatesh Iyer’s bowling services too. The next ODI will be played at the same venue and India need to learn from their mistakes. Their intensity was poor in the series opener.”