After having surrendered the Test series by 1-2, India failed to make amends in the three-match ODI series as they went down to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of a young and relatively inexperienced South African side.
While KL Rahul failed to impress as a captain in the ODIs, the collective failure in all the departments meant that India was always staring down the barrel. Indian batters failed to chase down sub-par 300 totals in the first and third ODIs, while the bowlers could not defend a target of 288 in the second match.
The inability to break partnerships in the middle overs and the lack of runs from the middle-order became a bane for India in the series. With the next ODI World Cup just a year away, the Indian team has come under a lot of criticism from the former players.
Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar blamed the team's poor batting for the disastrous tour of the 'Rainbow Nation'.
"When India reached South Africa, it was felt that this is the weakest home team, whether in Tests or ODIs. They were missing Anrich Nortje. The batting lacked experience. So, it felt like India would have an easy tour. The way India began at Centurion, it looked like India will dominate the series. But that didn't happen. South Africa recovered excellently....we lost the Test series because we could not score enough runs...the same happened in ODIs. We were playing on good pitches and we needed to make big scores," Gavaskar said on SportsTak.
India were with the chance of winning the third ODI after Deepak Chahar, batting at No 7, scored a 34-ball 50. However, after his dismissal, India failed to close the match and handed South Africa a thrilling four-run victory.
Former India cricketer and member of the 1983 World Cup-winning side, Madan Lal, slammed the "casual approach" of the batters for the team's poor performance.
"They got out while attempting glory shots, otherwise this match could have easily been won. In international matches, batters must take more responsibility. If you go in with a casual approach, you are going to keep losing matches and series like this. Apart from the first Test, we haven't played good cricket. We have gifted games, that we should have won, to South Africa," Madan Lal told SportsTak.
"They (the players) are just very casual and are playing casual shots. Rishabh Pant played a casual shot and he didn't keep the wickets well either, dropping two caught behind chances. We didn't see a century partnership. The players didn't learn from their mistakes," he added.
Veteran new-ball bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar had a series to forget as he conceded 131 runs in 18 overs of the first two ODIs without taking a wicket. He was replaced in the final match with Chahar who scalped two wickets and scored a breezy fifty.
Former Test opener Aakash Chopra said the management needs to give Bhuvneshwar a break as the pacer hasn't been at his best for a while.
"Well, not because Deepak Chahar has bowled or batted the way he has. It looks like there has to be a break. Bhuvneshwar Kumar cannot walk into the team the next time India will play white-ball cricket, as simple as that. It's about how Bhuvneshwar Kumar hasn't been looking sharp or incisive in the last 16-18 months," Chopra said on Star Sports.
"The pitch at Paarl and at Cape Town were very different. There was nothing in Paarl, there was something in it for the faster bowlers today. So that's not a fair comparison. I don't see him (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) getting picked in the near future in white-ball cricket, 50 overs or 20 overs."
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