India’s captain, Rohit Sharma, acknowledged the subpar batting performance in the first Test against South Africa but refused to concede that the team struggles with the moving ball overseas. India faced an innings defeat, with scores of 245 and 131 in Centurion, marking only the second instance of such a defeat in five years abroad. Despite standout performances from KL Rahul and Virat Kohli, other batsmen, notably newcomers Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, and Shreyas Iyer, failed to make an impact.
Rohit, however, urged against excessive criticism, emphasising that the same set of players had performed well in England and Australia in recent years. He asserted the international calibre of the team, stating, “Don’t forget what we did in Australia and England.”
Highlighting the uniqueness of each batter’s technique, Rohit stressed the importance of customising game plans for challenging conditions. He cited KL Rahul’s innings as an example of intent and adaptability, pointing out that it showcased a balanced approach to scoring at a strike rate of 70 while respecting the conditions.
While not singling out names, Rohit expressed dissatisfaction with how some players, presumably Shreyas Iyer and Shubman Gill, approached the conditions, cautioning against an overly aggressive mindset.
Rohit underscored the necessity for a mix of intent and discipline, recognising that adapting to different conditions requires a nuanced approach. He acknowledged the challenges faced by the team’s bowlers, expressing disappointment with the bowling performance, particularly beyond Jasprit Bumrah.
Contrary to dependence on a single bowler, Rohit stressed the need for collective efforts from the entire bowling unit. He acknowledged Bumrah’s quality but emphasised the importance of support. Despite the lack of the desired outcome, Rohit viewed games like these as valuable learning experiences for the bowling unit.
In summary, Rohit Sharma stood firm in defending the Indian batsmen, urging a broader perspective and highlighting the adaptability required for challenging conditions. The captain emphasised the team’s international pedigree and the need for a balanced approach in both batting and bowling strategies.