KOLKATA, Oct. 7: With the first-ever Twenty20 International series, hosted in India, decided at Cuttack in favour of the touring South Africa, the third match at the Eden Gardens here on Thursday will provide India a chance to prepare for the upcoming ODI and Test series.
Thoroughly outplayed by the Proteas in the earlier encounters, the Indians will be looking for the elusive victory to restore some of the lost pride. The success South Africans achieved could be due to most of their players acquitting well in the cash-rich IPL. The team came well prepared having done its homework and finally dealt the death blow on the host.
Except for Hashim Amla, every South African had a fair amount of success in the IPL. Some of them even played key roles for their teams� success. In this background, one expected India to be at its best. Unfortunately, the Indians proved too listless in all the departments.
Speaking on the eve of the match, veteran off-break bowler Harbhajan Singh agreed that every game was a challenge for India from here on. �If we win on the morrow, we will take the confidence into the ODI series,� he told the media at the pre-match press conference.
�We were one down in the Test series in Sri Lanka but we ended up winning it because of the belief we had in our ability. Though we have lost this series we still have a lot to play for as the ODIs are coming up and then the Test matches. We want to play our best game tomorrow. Hopefully we will win and from there it could be a different story. Once we start winning we will be a difficult side to beat,� he informed.
There are many lessons the Indian can learn from the Proteas. The visitors� approach to batting, bowling and fielding proved far better than the Indians. The hallmark of the South Africans� was their ability to understand each other and appreciate individual roles while contributing to the team�s effort. The functioning of the team was seamless despite three National team captains, Amla (Test), AB de Villiers (ODI) and Faf du Plessis (T20) present in the playing XI.
For the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), the match is all about remembering its president, Jagmohan Dalmiya, who passed away last month. Harbhajan paid a tribute to the great administrator who turned the face of Indian and world cricket by his enterprise and business acumen. �We will be missing Jagmohan Dalmiya sir. He won�t be watching the game but I am sure he will be blessing us from somewhere,� he said. The CAB has plans to pay homage to him in its own way.