Port Elizabeth: South African pace bowling great Shaun Pollock today criticised India's misplaced priorities and approach to the Test series against the Proteas, saying the team's lack of preparation stood out despite a historic ODI triumph.
"I was a little bit surprised by their batting. When they came on this tour I thought it was going to be their strength. I was a bit disappointed by the way they went (in the Test series)," Pollock said. He asked if India would be satisfied with winning the ODI series when they should have prioritised winning the Test series instead.
"Looking back, I think they have identified that preparation wise they needed to be here for more time. I suppose it goes down to what are the actual goals you want to achieve. If you want to win Test series away from home, then you have to give them more priority. And priority means more preparation. "I think going out to England, we have heard some guys are going to play county cricket. So preparation wise I think they will be better equipped when they go there or to Australia, he said the former all-rounder."
India lost the three-match Test series 2-1, after being walloped in the first two games, but have secured a first ODI series win here last night. Pollock said, We have seen they are now settled in ODIs. Probably they could have structured the tour better and had ODIs before Tests, and that could have been better preparation for India.
"I think practice matters. You need to have two practice matches and have a guarantee that you are genuinely good opposition than just developing players. You have to set your goals." South Africa's all-time leading Test wicket-taker added, "Is it a great thing to win the ODI series or is it a great achievement to come and win a Test series in South Africa, which you haven' done? Maybe thats where the priorities haven't met the same preparation." Virat Kohli's form in the ODI series has been one of the highlights for India in the ODI series, and a reason for their triumph. The skipper has 429 runs in five matches, while he was also the only batsman on both sides to score a hundred in the Test series.
I saw an interview at the start of the tour and he was talking about backing himself in these conditions. That positivity and approach paid off for me. "He wasn't fearful of the conditions and he wanted to grind out performances. He obviously came here with the right mind set. I thought the rest of the batting group would have been similar, but there wasn't anyone else who supported him particularly in the Tests, said Pollock.
Pollock said, as captain, Kohli is trying to instil new confidence in the team. Kohli has had some guys support him in the ODIs and that's why India have been so good. It is a slightly depleted (South African) team but in saying that the wins India managed especially in the first three were very comprehensive." When asked about Kohli's on-field aggressive brand of leadership, the former Proteasâ€™ skipper said.