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India's tour of South Africa, 2018

We want to win every series we play: Rohit

The Indian vice-captain was of the view that the team was better prepared this time around to counter the challenges in the forthcoming 6-match ODI series

Team India began preparations for the 1st ODI at Kingsmead Durban with a good three-hour session at the nets on Tuesday. Everyone took turns to bat and bowl and the team looked in good spirits looking to take momentum from the final Test win into the forthcoming ODI series. It is a long ODI series comprising six games, but India were not too keen on looking too far ahead. It was a matter of taking one game at a time reckoned vice-captain Rohit Sharma.

“We are keen to win this ODI series. We, as individuals cannot think too far ahead, we have to take one game at a time and see what we can come up with as a team. It is important to do a lot of things right, yes there will be times when we will be put under pressure but as a team we have shown that we can absorb that pressure and come back. At the same time, we have shown that if we put pressure back on the opposition, they tend to crumble. We are going to play that game and try to use it to our advantage. We want to stick to our strengths and take each game at a time,” Rohit said.

When asked if this series could be an ideal preparation for the 2019 World Cup, Rohit replied, “We want to win each series that we play. We are not thinking about the World Cup right now. But in the back of our mind, it is always going to be there because we can test ourselves and see how we respond to situations and conditions out there. The preparation has been on its way and we want to win this series, that’s the most important thing.”

The last time India played an ODI series in South Africa was in 2013-14 when India were handed a 2-0 series drubbing. The team was inclined towards changing that and believed that they are better prepared and in with a better chance this time around. “The last time we came here we lost the series and before that as well. We want to change that around and this will be the best time to do that,” he said.

“When we came here last time, our guys were inexperienced and had hardly played in overseas conditions. Small things matter like the length that you bowl in India and the length that you bowl overseas are slightly different. Now all these bowlers have enough experience, they've got the job done in Test series as well. Our current bowling unit has shown enough courage. They've come out and bowled their hearts out and got the job done. I think it'll be a different ball game this time around.” 

Anand Subramaniam

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Wanderers Stadium pitch rated as "poor"

The pitch has received three demerit points and if it reaches five points, the stadium will be suspended from staging any international cricket for 12 months

Andy Pycroft of the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Match Referees has rated the Wanderers Stadium pitch as “poor” and, as such, according to the ICC Pitch and Outfield Monitoring Process, it has received three demerit points, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced today.

The demerit points will remain active for a rolling five-year period and if during this five-year period the Wanderers Stadium reaches the threshold of five demerit points, then it will be suspended from staging any international cricket for 12 months.

Mr Pycroft, whose report has been forwarded to Cricket South Africa, said: “The pitch prepared for the final Test was a poor one. It had excessively steep and unpredictable bounce, and excessive seam movement.

“It deteriorated quickly as the match progressed, which made batting extremely difficult and hazardous, resulting in the medical staff from both the sides having to come onto the field of play multiple times to treat their batsmen.

“As the on-field umpires are also responsible for the players’ safety, they expressed concerns about the behavior of the pitch, and debated after day three if it was appropriate to continue the match.

“In the end, the umpires made the decision to continue and the Test reached its natural conclusion on day four. However, there was still excessive variable bounce and seam movement when the Test match ended.”

India came back from behind to win the Test by 63 runs that saw 40 wickets fall for 805 runs in almost 296 overs. Dean Elgar with an unbeaten 86 was the top-scorer in the match.

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