Pune: Former batsman Chandu Borde has some advice for the Indian batsmen who struggled in the first Test in South Africa – stay a bit outside the crease and leave the balls pitched outside the off-stump.
India were crushed by 72 runs in the first Test at Cape Town as the visiting batsmen failed to chase a modest 208 target after being shot out for 135 to give South Africa a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Borde, who served as the vice-captain of the Indian team under Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, also exuded confidence that the Virat Kohli-led side would bounce back in the second Test starting at Centurion on Saturday.
"First thing is to stay there on the wicket, which is important, and particularly to leave the ball that is pitched outside the off stump. Many of our batsmen were either caught behind or were caught in the slips," Borde told PTI in an interaction at his hometown.
"Therefore they should change their technique in such a way that anything that pitches outside the off stump, they should try and leave in the beginning and once you get set to that bounce and pace then play the shots," said the 83-year-old Borde who was among the finest Indian batsmen of his era against pace bowling.
Borde, a former chairman of national selectors, also advised the Indian batsman to, "Another thing I would suggest is that instead of standing in the crease, they should stand outside the crease at least by 6 inches and meet the ball earlier and do not allow it to swing more," he said.
"If that can be adjusted, and it is not very difficult to do, I am sure you can cope up with this kind of attack," said Borde, a 55-Test veteran.
Borde described the current Indian team as one of the best sides to visit South Africa and exuded confidence that the visitors would make a strong comeback in the second Test.
"Frankly, it (the first Test) was a good match. Now the South Africans must be worried about the way they got out in the second innings and the way our bowlers bowled there," he said.
"Our batsmen could not perform on that wicket, but I am sure in the second Test match, you will find a different Indian side. Because one thing I have observed, this is one of the best teams that is visiting South Africa. This team has got the potential, they have got the players who can perform really well in any sort of condition," he remarked.
The Pune-born former cricketer said it is easier for bowlers to adjust to the conditions, but batsmen needed at least 2-3 practice games to acclimatise.
"First match, ok, this was quite an eye-opener to them. They haven't played on this type of wicket recently. So to get acclimatised to such kind of wickets, you require to play at least 2-3 practice matches. That really helps particularly the batsmen to get used to the bounce of the wicket.
"Bowlers can adjust their line and length easily. For a batsman to adjust is big challenge. I am sure they will come back strongly in the 2nd Test," he added.
Borde also said he would like to see KL Rahul in the playing eleven instead of Shikhar Dhawan when asked whether such a switch needs to be done. "It could be useful, because opening start is important for the team. I would like to see Rahul as an opener. He is a person who leaves the ball outside the off stump.
"They (South Africa) have worked out a plan to get Shikhar Dhawan out by bouncing the ball, which Shikhar finds it difficult to avoid or hook. So, if Rahul comes, he is a different player, he is technically also sound. So it could be a good move to get him (Rahul) in," he added.
He also expressed surprise that Murali Vijay had abandoned his normal method of leaving the balls pitched outside the off in the opening Test and paid the penalty. "Vijay used to leave the ball outside the off stump and I am surprised that he was chasing that ball. Now, I am sure he would have thought about it and he must have practiced and you will see a different player. He has got a good technique. It will be a good combination of Rahul and Vijay."
Borde also heaped praise on Kohli for his positive mindset and said it would help in galvanising the players.
"Virat Kohli has got a positive mind and is willing to face any team because his mindset is such that he likes to face the challenge with confidence.
"He has got that confidence and he brings that confidence in the players, so that motivates the players," the right-handed batsman signed off.