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India's tour of South Africa: A contest plagued by injuries and one-sided games

705   //    19 Feb 2018, 23:02 IST
2nd Momentum ODI: South Africa v India
India have absolutely dominated South Africa in the ODI series

India beating South Africa comprehensively in the bilateral ODI series (5-1) and outdoing them again in the first T20I, has once again conveyed its supremacy over world cricket. South Africa hasn’t got much to celebrate in this series apart from the 2-1 Test series win over India.

Its excitement was very much lowered in the third test. The fight put up by India in that win very much distorted the morale of the host team and since then, they have found it very difficult to bounce back.

Too many injuries have been a major cause of worry for the Proteas in this tour. Dale Steyn, who was making a comeback after a year, broke down with an ankle injury in the very first Test match and was ruled out of the remainder of the series.

Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander, and Quinton de Kock had fitness issues before the start of India series. De Kock had suffered a hamstring injury against Zimbabwe but was able to play against India until he was ruled out for the rest of the games sustaining a wrist injury in the ODIs.

South Africa's backbone and star player AB de Villiers suffered a finger injury in the third and final Test match but was later called in for the last three ODIs. But later he was grafted out of T20 series sustaining a knee injury. Moreover, Proteas Captain Faf du Plessis suffered a finger injury adding more woes to the South African misery.

Amidst few players going out; few players such as Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, and JP Duminy had a chance to make an impact but they haven’t been much successful in leaving a mark.

The thrill that was awaited at the start of the tour diminished with the progress of the series. A major blame can be put on unavoidable injuries and the retrenchment of players such Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir and second Test hero Lungisani Ngidi; who have been rested sighting the upcoming Australian series.

It is unthinkable to shun your players from playing the No. 1 side to save them to play against the No. 3 side. With its star players injured, South Africa's poor bench strength is also exposed. They don’t have many players to replace the void of their star players, which is very unlikely of good teams.

When the world’s top-two teams compete, the unfolding of excitement and a tough contest is always expected. But it didn’t happen this time. Except for some moments of intense competition that happened in the Test series, most games have been a one-sided affair and games of domination by India.

Lack of excitement and fervor was evident. This series has been a long day for Proteas. This may raise concerns about the dropping quality of cricket and the widening gap between teams. 

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Anant hails from Lucknow and has played cricket at divisional, district and club level. He is simply a sports fanatic. He has a strong affinity for MotoGP but for him, nothing comes close to Cricket. Though he is a media/communication professional, he talks like a child when discussing cricket. Just grab a cup of tea and be prepared for endless chats on Cricket/MotoGP with him anytime.
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