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India put up brave front, focus on spin

india Updated: Dec 17, 2013 01:05 IST
Khurram Habib
Khurram Habib
Hindustan Times
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The most interesting statement made in the past fortnight is that the South Africans aren't bothered about spin. It came from a group of fans who had gathered around their team during a practice session.

It pointed to the mental scars the hosts had inflicted on the Indians with their pace. So, it was a surprise when the India spinners had a long bowl at their batsmen, and even more surprising was after they had finished, Virat Kohli addressed the local trainees and called for a spinner from among them. Well, there was no one. So, what were the Indians thinking?

News from the hosts suggests Imran Tahir could get a look-in. Probably as Jacques Kallis give them an additional pace option, South Africa may look to add variety. Although Tahir has a good record at the Wanderers in domestic cricket, but considering the way he was taken to the cleaners against Australia when the Proteas toured there, he could be easy meat for the India batsmen.

Irrespective of his selection, one thing is clear. The hosts are relying on pace to unnerve the batsmen. As Morne Morkel pointed out, "Doesn't matter, who we play against. Top of the off-stump and the odd bouncer is still the winning combination. That's what we need to concentrate on."

Perhaps the India batsmen, particularly Virat, may have wanted to prove that facing pace is the last thing on India's minds.

Mind games have begun, perhaps.