Inexperienced, but confident

2013-12-04 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — Indian cricket coach Duncan Fletcher says his side may be young and inexperienced, but they come to South Africa without any excess emotional baggage.

According to Fletcher, his players bear no scars from previous tours and the coach believes that could be a deciding factor in their quest to become the first Indian team to win a series in South Africa.

“When I started working with them I did not actually realise how inexperienced they are, especially as far as experience here in South Africa is concerned,” said Fletcher. “On the one hand, that can be a good thing, because they are not hurt by previous tours here and they are approaching things with an open mind.

“I also feel we have a well balanced team with batsmen who have the ability to pile on the runs, while our bowling has a good mixture of fast bowlers and spinners who are regularly amongst the wickets.”

The former Zimbabwean was quick to answer a question to his captain MS Dhoni on how the absence of Sachin Tendulkar will affect the camp.

“It is only something we can really answer when the first Test [from December 18 at the Wanderers] begins because until then Sachin is still there.

“He was in our last Test [his 200th and final] and therefore we do not know what life without him will be, because we have not experienced it,” Fletcher said.

Although the youngsters in Fletcher’s set-up are quite experienced in one-day cricket, most of them are only rookies on the Test stage.

Virat Kohli, the man who will probably replace Tendulkar at number four in the Test team, has only played in 20 Tests compared to his 122 ODIs.

Rohit Sharma has only played in two Tests, compared to 111 one-day matches, while the new batting sensation of Indian cricket Shikhar Dhawan has been capped three times at Test level compared to his 28 ODIs.

Dhawan has scored more centuries — five — than any other batsman in one-day cricket this year and this week entered the top ten ranking [9th] for the first time in his career. Suresh Raina has 17 Test caps, while he has featured in 183 ODIs.

Kohli has scored 1 237 runs this year — more than anyone — with another four Indians among the top 15 leading run makers of 2013.

They are Sharma (third with 1 159), Dhawan (fourth, 1 150), Raina (11th, 720) and Dhoni (14th, 699) .

Only two South African batsmen are among the top 15. They are AB de Villiers (eighth with 974) and Hashim Amla (15th, 660).

The series begins with the first ODI in Johannesburg tomorrow.

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