Benoni is less than an hour from the Wanderers but it seems that the rains that had promised to mar the tour game on Thursday and did not (allowing South Africa A to whip India out of shape) decided to spend the night hiking to Joburg.
So, on the morning after, the Indian team made its weary way to the Wanderers, only to be forced indoors because of showers. Needless to say that by the time the Proteas came out for afternoon practice, the sun was shining and the sky was a beatific blue. An omen? Who knows?
There was no dramatic action at their indoor session and though Virender Sehwag was spotted, he wasn ’t spotted doing anything special. The stitches will be out on Sunday (match day) morning, according to Greg Chappell and then, a decision will be taken.
Every indication says the same though — that Sehwag will skip the first ODI barring a super-healing body.
The afternoon, reportedly, was spent with team meetings happening in batches, depending on what needed to be worked on according to speciality and needs while in the evening, the players headed for high tea at the Indian consul general’s here.
On Saturday, it’s back to the Wanderers at 11 am for a final nets ahead of the first one-dayer. And while a lot of heat will naturally be on the batsmen, what Jacques Rudolph, who battered the Indian bowling yesterday said, would be well remembered.
“With the new ball, they (the Indians) bowled exceptionally well. They put us under pressure, but when they came on for their second spells, the ball wasn’t swinging or reversing. You have got to be honest, these lads are inexperienced. But there were signs that there is raw talent. Who knows, after a few more games under their belts, they might be the next Javagal Srinaths.”
Rudolph could afford to be kind after the mauling he gave India. But asked about how this would affect the ODIs, he chose mind games.
“I am sure the South African boys would have been watching us on TV today. They will take a lot of positives out of today’s game, and not just because of the result.”
Dravid had said at the presentation on Thursday night that while there were areas that India could be better at, he was sure that as the tour progressed, things would improve.
“We’re quite young and some of our young batsmen and bowlers are still learning.” For India’s sake, with a bit of luck, their skipper’s called it right this time.