New Delhi: Even though Indian team lost the fourth ODI against South Africa at Johannesburg by five wickets, Virat Kohli and boys have played really well in the ongoing ODI series. They convincingly beat the Proteas in the first three matches, and still lead the series 3-1. India’s performance in the 50-over format has impressed former South Africa skipper Kepler Wessels. He feels that India would be a tough team to beat in the World Cup next year.
In an interview with Times of India, Wessels said, “I wouldn’t say favourites, but they (India) will be very competitive. Barring injuries to key players, it’s looking good for them. They will be difficult to beat.”
He then pointed out that the key reason for South Africa’s failure in the ODI series was because they could not handle the Indian spinners well, and were surprised by their quality. “I think that they’ve got a totally different team, a totally different arsenal. They have introduced the two leg-spinners which has totally confused the SA set-up. I think that India’s One-Day team at the moment is very good,” he said.
Kepler also praised the Indian fast-bowlers, and added that they are a big plus for the side. “Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) swings it nicely, Bumrah hits the pitch hard. He can also bowl some nice yorkers and quick bouncers. So, that has been a big plus as far as Indian cricket is concerned… the fact that they now have fast bowlers who can take wickets abroad,” he said. “Before the Tests, I thought that the Indian batsmen would score runs and the bowlers would struggle to bowl SA out, but it turned out to be the other way around,” he added.
The 60-year-old talked about Rohit Sharma’s bad form, and highlighted the fact that he will continue to struggle in South Africa due to his footwork. “He will always struggle to score runs in SA because of his footwork. He plants his front foot across to the off-side and in SA, the pitches always seam and bounce a bit. This is the reason that he averages around 10 there,” the former batsman said.
While about Shikhar Dhawan, Wessels said, “He looks very impressive in one-day cricket. He’s superb there. In the Tests, he’s still vulnerable to the short ball, but the overall package is very good.”