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India deserved 3-0 lead in ODI series, says Graeme Smith

Smith is also of the opinion that this Indian team could have won the Test series also had they not erred in their playing combination.

Graeme Smith
Graeme Smith. (Photo by Carl Fourie/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Former South Africa captain Graeme Smith has lauded the Indian cricket team for its dominant performance in the ongoing 6-match One-Day International series in South Africa. While India have taken an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series, South Africa are expected to bounce back in the remaining three games to draw the series.

While India skipper Virat Kohli has led from the front smashing two centuries in three matches, wrist spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav have made life difficult for the Proteas scalping 21 wickets in 3 matches. Because of these highlights in the series, they have earned praise from cricketers all around the world.

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“India team is very deservingly 3-0 up in the series. While South Africa have lost three key players (AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock) to injuries but it also showed that next generation of South African cricketers is not quite ready to take it on,” Smith was quoted as saying on the sidelines of St Moritz Ice Cricket tournament.

Plan how to blood youngsters

Smith, who played 117 Tests for the Proteas said that the ongoing series will have a big impact on the transition phase the home team is going through as several debutants are making it to the squad because of the absence of their main players like AB de Villiers, Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis.

“I think Cricket South Africa needs to think how they would want to blood and develop the youngsters in order to get them up to the level where they can perform. I am extremely disappointed with their performance but one must give credit to India as they have played outstanding cricket,” Smith added.

He feels the ODI series is an indicator that the next level of South African players are “not quite ready” to take on the quality opposition. Moreover, with the Vision 2019 in focus as well as the fact that their limited-overs cricket scene will be ordinary once senior players like Hashim Amla, du Plessis and de Villiers hang their boots, the former captain urges them to groom the players well.

“At the moment, it looks like a big series loss for the team and it could be disappointing. Post 2019 (World Cup), I think we would lose a couple of players (like AB de Villiers) and this series in particular showed that next level of players have a lot of work to do in order to get up to the standards where they can at least be competitive.

“I think SA cricket will have to really plan as to how they are looking to blood youngsters. May be keep them in the system (academy or domestic cricket) a bit longer,” Smith said, as reported by India Today.

India could have won the Test series

He is also of the opinion that this Indian team could have won the Test series as well had they not erred in their playing combination and team selection including the one that meant leaving out an impact player like Ajinkya Rahane.

“I would look at India’s team selection. Rahane should have played from start. India needed to play with an extra batter and the extra bowler they played was not required. Centurion was a very flat deck and India would be disappointed that they lost that Test series,” Smith summed up.

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