Team India Report Card 1st ODI vs South Africa: Shikhar Dhawan The Only Bright Spot In Insipid Outing
India were outplayed completely by the hosts. The tourists were in the game in the first 20 overs of both innings but let the advantage slip while bowling and batting and never managed to make a comeback.
India succumbed to a 31-run loss in the first one-day international against South Africa at Paarl on Wednesday, as the post-Virat Kohli captaincy era in 50-over cricket started with a rather insipid display. While the eventual margin wasn't huge, India were outplayed completely by the hosts. The tourists were in the game in the first 20 overs of both innings but let the advantage slip while bowling and batting and never managed to make a comeback. Temba Bavuma and Rassie van der Dussen struck fluent centuries in front of an attack that looked toothless. The spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal disappointed majorly. In the batting department, only Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli got going and there were some fireworks from the blade of Shardul Thakur, which were too little too late.
Here is our report card of the India playing XI for the 1st ODI:
KL Rahul - 0/10, Very Poor
It is a mystery how KL Rahul is being considered for leadership positions in the Indian team. While he has been scoring runs in white-ball cricket, he is nowhere close to becoming a match winner yet and if IPL captaincy is anything to go by, he has fared quite badly. Rahul has lost both the matches (Test and ODI) that he has led on this tour and his own performance hasn't been great in both these outings. He needs to prove a point with the bat in the next match and also needs to be more proactive as captain. To allow Bavuma and van der Dussen to run away with the match after having the Proteas struggling at 68/3 at one point shows he let the game drift and did not pounce on the initial advantage.
Shikhar Dhawan - 8/10, Very Good
If anyone had a point to prove in this match, it was the veteran opener and he did it in style. 79 top class runs, but Dhawan will be miffed he didn't close the game for the team. It is shocking how Dhawan has never been looked upon as a leadership choice despite being one of India's best performers in 50-over cricket along with Rohit and Virat.
Virat Kohli - 7/10, Good
Just when it seemed like we might see the return of the 'chasemaster' Kohli, he lost his wicket. It was once rare to see Kohli get out after he was set in a chase or even when batting first. But the game and life in general is a great leveller and the man who could do no wrong a couple of years back, is finding it difficult to get the big ones again. Kohli's dismissal for 51 changed the game completely and led to India's eventual loss. Team India fans would hope the big one is just round the corner.
Rishabh Pant 3/10, Poor
India need Rishabh Pant to start closing games now. MS Dhoni's biggest strength in the initial years of his stint in the team was his ability to take India home in white-ball cricket and if Pant has to become Dhoni's true successor, he needs to start doing that consistently.
Shreyas Iyer - 3/10, Poor
This man is blessed with oodles of talent but things haven't often gone his way. Iyer had the perfect opportunity to cement his place in the ODI team but it wasn't to be. With the likes of Suryakumar Yadav in the mix, Shreyas needs to take his opportunities and leave a mark.
Venkatesh Iyer - 0/10, Very Poor
The Indian team management still doesn't know what it wants to do with this young talent and this could be harmful for the southpaw. He came under the spotlight as an opener in the IPL but the team expects him to be a finisher. It is not an easy job and even more difficult for someone who has never done it. His bowling skills are not being utilised and Venkatesh Iyer is one bad IPL season away from being lost to obscurity.
Ravichandran Ashwin - 3/10, Poor
Ravichandran Ashwin is an asset as an all-rounder in Tests, but he is a liability as a batter and fielder in limited overs cricket. Ashwin can't hit the big shots and his impact as a batter is diminished when the field is spread out, as is the case in ODIs. Add to that the fact that he is not a wicket-taker and there is no justification for his return to the ODI side. He can make an impact with his wizardry in T20Is but for ODIs India need a wrist spinner who can pick wickets and playing Ashwin in 50-over cricket is a backward step.
Shardul Thakur - 5/10, Average
Shardul Thakur can be easy to target as a bowler if his variations don't work and that is exactly what happened on Wednesday. He was taken apart by Bavuma and van der Dussen and that hurt the bowling attack. His batting is an asset and he would have won the match for India if he had one recognized batter for company.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar- 10/10, Very Poor
Bhuvneshwar Kumar's international career is on one leg now. He is not a regular choice in Test cricket and his impact in white-ball cricket is fast diminishing. He needs to get his act together else he will not be in the mix soon.
Jasprit Bumrah - 7/10, Good
Bumrah had a decent outing on Wednesday but his performances in ODIs have not been up to his standards since 2020 and he needs to pull more weight as the leader of the attack. India need him to deliver wickets consistently both in the powerplay and at the death.
Yuzvendra Chahal - 0/10, Very Poor
He is a man on a comeback trail and Chahal needs to find his rhythm again. Chahal and Kuldeep became such a deadly pair because they were ready to take risks in the bargain to pick wickets. He needs to do that all over again and become a wicket-taker for his captain.