A26 SPORTS India Abroad January 10, 2014
It could have been a perfect year for Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his boys. It could have been a year when the team would have remained unbeaten in every bilateral
series or multi-nation tournament it featured in.
It could have been a year where the team wouldn’t have lost
a single Test.
But it was not to be.
The men in blue had scripted a fairytale in the first 11
months of 2013.
They dominated the one-day format against England,
Zimbabwe, Australia and West Indies, a tri-series — also featuring Sri Lanka — in the Caribbean and the biggest of them
all, the ICC Champions Trophy in England in June.
In the five-day format the team completed a first-ever
whitewash (4-0) against Australia, thereby avenging the
humiliation Down Under in 2011-2012.
When the Indian team embarked on the South Africa tour,
doubt replaced the confidence previously on display.
The team’s 2011 overseas trips — to England and Australia
— had been disasters. With many experienced players —
Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, V V S Laxman — having
retired and the others — Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir
— dropped, not many believed that this young Indian side
could end the jinx in South Africa.
The one-day series proved the naysayers right.
The Indian batsmen were clueless against Dale Steyn’s pace
The Test series began on a similar note at the Wanderers,
before Team India took hold of the match, getting to a winning position.
In the end, they had to settle for a draw.
In the second and deciding Test in Durban, and despite the
visitors starting well, the end result — and consequently the
series — went in South Africa’s favor.
It will take some more time, and a lot of concentrated effort
— and that includes preparing sporting wickets at home —
for Team India to perform consistently overseas, let alone
The fact that the Indians play mostly abroad in 2014 is an
opportunity to adapt.
Dhoni claimed his team had no time to adapt to South
African conditions. Had the original tour, as per the
International Cricket Council’s Future Tours Program, gone
ahead, the Indian captain wouldn’t have had a chance to
A four Test series would definitely have offered a better
chance to adapt and mount a comeback.
But differences between the Board of Control for Cricket in
India and the South African cricket board meant it wasn’t the
An ad hoc series against the West Indies was organized as
a farewell to Tendulkar. The Master Blaster deserved to sign
off on a winning note. An early trip to South Africa would
have ensured otherwise.
South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis said he knew the time was right to quit Test cricket as he brought he curtain down on an 18-year career with a win over
The 38-year-old all-rounder, regarded as South Africa’s
finest cricketer, scored a farewell century December 29 to
help his side to a 10-wicket win and a series triumph.
His 115 in South Africa’s first innings took him into third
place on the list of all-time Test batsmen, with 13,289 runs
from 166 Tests, behind only Sachin Tendulkar (15,921 runs)
and Ricky Ponting (13,378).
Kallis surprised many with his decision to quit, catching
the cricketing world unawares on Christmas Day with a
statement saying the second Test against India would be
his last, but that he would continue in the limited overs format. Usually it has been the other way round for top players.
‘It was a tough call, but people say there comes a day
when you wake up and you realize it is time to quit,’ he was
quoted by the Press Trust of India as saying.
‘I felt it was the right time and to finish it off in this man-
ner has been incredible, the way the people have come out
to support me, the way Cricket South Africa and my team
mates have made it a special game.’
‘I couldn’t have hoped for a better exit. I suppose I’ll miss
the cricket, but mostly the friendships, the winning times
and the tough times. All that goes on in the changing room’
The South African’s Test figures — including 292 wickets
and 200 catches — make him the best all-rounder of all
His Test career started slowly and it was only in the winter of his career that his country’s supporters seemed to
warm to him.
‘There were times when I could have dominated more.
But for years I tried to bat through an innings. When our
batting line-up became stronger, I had the opportunity to
be more aggressive, especially in Test cricket,’ he was quoted by the Press Trust of India as telling authors Ali Bacher
and David Williams in a new book on South African cricket.
He said he would now focus on the limited overs game,
with his only remaining ambition being success in the one-day World Cup.
‘I still have a lot of hunger to push South Africa to that
World Cup in 2015 if I am fit and performing. The last two
years have been a memorable journey with an exceptional
‘I couldn’t have hoped
for a better exit’ Thorn in the crown
The South African tour became the
lone blot in what was otherwise a
good year for Team India,
says Bikash Mohapatra
India versus South Africa 2nd Test
India 334-10 (113.3) First Innings
Shikhar Dhawan c A Petersen b Morkel 29 (49)
Murali Vijay c de Villiers b Steyn 97 (226)
Cheteshwar Pujara c de Villiers b Steyn 70 (132)
Virat Kohli c de Villiers b Morkel 46 (87)
Rohit Sharma b Steyn 0 (1)
Ajinkya Rahane not out 51 (121)
*M S Dhoni c Smith b Steyn 24 (40)
Ravindra Jadeja c Kallis b Duminy 0 (3)
Zaheer Khan c de Villiers b Steyn 0 (2)
Ishant Sharma c de Villiers b Steyn 4 (3)
Mohammed Shami c Smith b Morkel 1 (6)
Extras: 12 byes:0 leg byes:7 no balls:1 wides:4
Total: 334-10 (111.3)
South Africa: Dale Steyn 30-10-100-6, Vernon Philander 21-6-56-
0, Morne Morkel 23.3-6-50-3, Jacques Kallis 11-1-36-0, Robin
Peterson 22-2-75-0, Jean-Paul Duminy 4-0-10-1,
South Africa 500-10 (155.2)
*Graeme Smith c Dhawan b Jadeja 47 (81)
Alviro Petersen c Vijay b Jadeja 62 (100)
Hashim Amla b Shami 3 (18)
Jacques Kallis c Dhoni b Jadeja 115 (316)
AB de Villiers c Kohli b Jadeja 74 (117)
Jean-Paul Duminy lbw b Jadeja 28 (82)
Dale Steyn c Dhoni b Zaheer 44 (94)
Faf du Plessis run out (Rohit) 43 (70)
Robin Peterson c Vijay b Zaheer 61 (52)
Vernon Philander not out 0 (3)
Morne Morkel c and b Jadeja 0 (2)
Extras: 23 byes:3 leg byes:15 no balls:2 wides:3
Total: 500-10 (155.2)
India: Zaheer Khan 28-4-97-2, Mohammed Shami 27-2-104-1,
Ishant Sharma 31-7-114-0, Ravindra Jadeja 58.2-15-138-6, Rohit
India 223-10 (86) Second Innings
Shikhar Dhawan c Plessis b R Peterson 19 (87)
Murali Vijay c Smith b Philander 6 (13)
Cheteshwar Pujara b Steyn 32 (100)
Virat Kohli c de Villiers b Steyn 11 (27)
Rohit Sharma lbw b Philander 25 (46)
Ajinkya Rahane b Philander 96 (157)
*M S Dhoni c A Petersen b R Peterson 15 (29)
Ravindra Jadeja c Morkel b R Peterson 8 (5)
Zaheer Khan lbw b R Peterson 3 (41)
Ishant Sharma c de Villiers b Steyn 1 (10)
Mohammed Shami not out 1 (1)
Extras: 6 byes:4 leg byes:0 no balls:0 wides:2
Total: 223-10 (86)
South Africa: Dale Steyn 21-8-47-3, Vernon Philander 16-4-43-3,
Morne Morkel 16-6-34-0, Robin Peterson 24-3-74-4, Jean-Paul
Duminy 8-2-20-0, Faf du Plessis 1-0-1-0.
South Africa 59-0 (11.4)
Alviro Petersen not out 31 (37)
*Graeme Smith not out 27 (33)
AB de Villiers
Faf du Plessis
Extras: 1 byes:0 leg byes:0 no balls:0 wides:1
Total: 59-0 (11.4)
India: Mohammed Shami 2-1-4-0, Ishant Sharma 5-1-29-0,
Ravindra Jadeja 4-0-16-0, Rohit Sharma 0.4-0-10-0.
Jacques Kallis takes an honor
lap to bring down the curtain
on his 18-year Test career,
DUIF DU TOI T/GALLO IMAGES/GET T Y IMAGES