If you are a South African fan, look away.
If you are a South African player, I wonder why you would read any cricket article at all, let alone this, now.
If you are neither, yet feel sorry for South Africa, stay.
If you are an Indian fan, I suggest you read till the end and appreciate the golden generation your team has.
This tour presented a series of harsh realities for South Africa but the most shocking ones came during the matches rather than at the end of them. The goof-ups are a common event for non-Asian sides visiting this part of the world, but it is strongly suspected that this South African team carries home the most lessons.
Invert the batting order
No, seriously. What were you thinking when sitting out Vernon Philander and Senuran Muthusamy at Ranchi and Dane Piedt at Pune? Philander, Maharaj, Piedt and Muthusamy combined played 982 balls this series, 10 more than Dean Elgar, Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock combined. Two of those batsmen have centuries this series, but they couldn’t survive as well as the tail-enders.
South Africa’s ninth wicket partnerships averaged 44.66 (better than any other wicket except the 6th). None of the top three wickets shared a fifty partnership. Surely, reason enough to invert that batting order?
Keep all fielders on the boundary on day two and drag the declaration to day 3
South Africa’s returns in the twilight hours of day 2 of each of the three Tests. Surely, they should have known by Ranchi that allowing India to declare on day two is a recipe for disaster. At least, follow an inverted batting line-up on day two so that the cream of the batting order….oops..maybe they were right.
Find homestays, avoid hotels and if nothing works find more hard objects to hit on
You don’t come to India and offend its fans. You come to India and make them applaud you like AB de Villiers once did. Dean Elgar, notorious for his Johannesburg remarks last year, distanced himself further from Indian fans when he stated – “You get to know yourself a lot as a person when you come to the smaller places where the hotels are maybe not as good, and you get challenged on the food you eat potentially.”
Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami hurled rotten eggs in the form of cricket balls at Elgar on the last day (last day I saw) at Ranchi on behalf of the fans. It hit him. Physically, mentally. He retired hurt and was replaced by a concussion substitute. The easier way of course was to punch the hard object his former opening partner fisted and to go back to South Africa and eat.
Offer hand-made coins for tosses
First day at Vizag and Faf du Plessis turned back at the cameras to offer a helpless smile after losing the toss. Third Test, he was walking out with a stand-by captain to call the toss for him. Clearly South Africa are superstitious but their former captain, Graeme Smith, bashed the decision to reveal their next captain too early.
Ten straight lost tosses in Asia. If South Africa were looking for excuses, this was certainly a better bet than the hotels. Next time, though, try hand-made coins and hope they won’t turn it over.
Fight on the pitch, but not with your own men
If du Plessis asked his men to show fight on this tour, they took it literally. Rabada and de Kock were at loggerheads and then tried to make it physical – yeah, I know! What was de Kock thinking?
Thankfully, their skipper turned out to be a well-known towel model infamous for dousing fires, even if the flames come from David Warner. That didn’t stop his men from throwing in the towel, though. If only they showed as much anger and responded as aggressively to their own performances.
Note: This article is in jest and should not be taken seriously. Okay, maybe some of it isn’t very funny.