IND vs SA: Bhuvneshwar Kumar was special through the series, says Mark Boucher
IND vs SA: South Africa head coach Mark Boucher praised India seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar‘s efforts in the series, but bemoaned the absence of Aiden Markram, who he believes might have made a significant difference for the Proteas in the five T20Is.
Bhuvneshwar, who currently only plays white-ball cricket, took six wickets in four games and conceded only 85 runs in 14 overs, equating to an economy rate of just over six runs per over.
“Bhuvi was special in this whole series as we came up against some quality bowling. He put us under pressure in Powerplays and barring one game (Delhi), where we got off to a good start, they have dominated us with both ball and bat in Powerplays,” Boucher said after the series ended in 2-2 despite Proteas going 2-0 up at the onset.
However, the former glovesman believes that losing Markram due to COVID-19 at the outset of the series had a significant impact.
“It was tough losing Aiden Markram even before we started the first game. We wanted to play six batters with Aiden being our sixth option and we couldn’t do that,” Boucher added.
The long IPL made the players exhausted, which had an impact on the final result, he said.
“We didn’t play our best cricket and it was quite tough on our IPL players to stay throughout the whole IPL and then come to India back-to-back as well,” he explained.
“Guys are little bit tired as well. So they will all enjoy the break and (having learnt a) lot of lessons in World Cup year. And see, if we can plug a few gaps going into Australia albeit in different conditions.”
Despite the absence of stars such as Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Jasprit Bumrah for the series, Boucher praised the depth of the Indian cricket system generated by the IPL.
“I know there weren’t a lot of top (India) players over here but the depth that Indian cricket has at the moment largely due to the IPL, they can take lot of confidence as well.”
“You just can’t walk up in India and expect to win a series as well. So, we played a couple of good games and two bad games. And there are a couple of reasons for that, but you can’t get too much into it,” he added.
South Africa, on the other hand, will have a different strategy in Australia.
“Plans will change in Australia and we are aware of that. We tried a few options in these conditions and saw if they worked or not.
“And I think, we asked a few questions and we got some good answers.”
Boucher made no apologies for stating that South Africa’s Powerplay batting needs to be improved.
“We struggled to get going in few of the games and we speak about it. After every game and may be see how we can change our mindset and intent. Especially after third game, when we went after with the intent we needed,” he said.
“And our bowling at certain stages was very good and at certain stages, we looked rusty. Also sort of understand that couple of guys coming into the series after IPL. And may be a bit tired,” he signed off.