India vs South Africa: Former Proteas batsman Daryll Cullinan says Ajinkya Rahane must be given a prolonged run at No 4 slot

Daryll Cullinan believes Ajinkya Rahane is a right answer to India's number four batting conundrum. "I won't be surprised to see him at number four in England as well. He might be ideal for in those conditions."

Vaibhav Shah, February 03, 2018

After the fiercely contested Test series between the top-ranked Test teams India and South Africa ended 2-1 in home side's favour. The attention shifted to coloured clothing cricket where both the countries once again occupy the top spots in the ranking. Only difference before the start of the ODI series was as opposed to Tests, India followed the Proteas in the ranking.

Before the start of the series, there was much excitement among the viewers as well as pundits from across the cricketing world.

Firstpost caught up with Former South Africa cricketer Daryll Cullinan who said that there is a lot of excitement for ODI series in South Africa and there were a lot of expectations.

India's batsmen Virat Kohli (L) and Ajinkya Rahane celebrate the 100 partnership during the first One Day International (ODI) cricket match between South Africa and India at Kingsmead Cricket Ground on February 1, 2018 in Durban. / AFP PHOTO / ANESH DEBIKY

Ajinkya Rahane (79) played a perfect supporting role to Virat Kohli's heroic hundred (112) in the first ODI against South Africa. AFP

"Both teams are very good. India is a terrific one-day team. South Africa has a formidable ODI side and probably the preparations for 2019 World Cup in England starts now," Cullinan, who is also an ESPNcricinfo expert panelist, said.

All the three Tests were very exciting and South Africa won the series as they capitalized on their chances better compared to India. The 70-Tests veteran added. "The Test series have gone nicely and just gives us an indication how the remainder of the tour is going to be."

Just like the Test series, India is chasing history in the shorter format as well having not one a bilateral ODI series in South Africa.

The 50-year old believes with the confidence of winning the Test at Wanderers in mind, the current Indian squad have a real chance of winning their maiden ODI series in South Africa.

"India bat deep and have got some world-class players. The squad has got a great opportunity to win the series, probably better chance than any other previous Indian ODI side that I have seen visit South Africa," he said.

On the other hand, Cullinan said, "South Africa's batting order seems little unsettled with AB de Villiers out of the first three ODIs."

After losing captain Faf du Plessis due to a finger injury, South Africa's problems would have increased two-fold, as they will miss not only an able captain but also a frontline batsman.

He also added that With World Cup 2019 in mind South Africa will look to experiment in terms of their playing combination.

"South Africa will not necessarily focus on winning, but instead providing exposure to few players and give some players opportunity . They also want to get into a good winning habit. Winning at the end of the day is the greatest confidence booster. We will have wait and see what their approach is but I have a feeling they will experiment a bit more," said Cullinan.

He also threw light on Khaya Zondo, who is yet to make his debut in international cricket and Aiden Markram.

"Zondo has captained his domestic side and despite his talent he hasn't been prolific in domestic competitions, but it serves as a great opportunity for him to prove himself," he said.

Whereas Markram has some experience at Test level and made his ODI debut last year against Bangladesh.

"He is someone who is a very capable batsman and can bat anywhere in top five," said Cullinan, unaware that he would be captaining Proteas second ODI onwards.

With Markram pitchforked into captaincy in place of the injured du Plessis, he will now call the shots on what position best suits him in the batting order and it will be interesting to see when he decides to go out to bat.

Cullinan was Proteas batting's mainstay for a considerable period of time in the nineties. He spoke about India's number four conundrum with Indian management trying multiple players at the position. With Virat Kohli clearing the air in the pre-match conference, Cullinan seemed to agree upon the idea of having Ajinkya Rahane at that slot.

"I think (Ajinkya) Rahane at number four is a good move, especially if you lose wickets early on, you need that sort of a player to come in at four. I won't be surprised to see him at number four in England as well. He might be ideal for in those conditions. He needs to be given a prolonged run"

Rahane played a perfect anchor, scoring 79 off 86 balls, joining forces with captain Virat Kohli (112) for a matching-winning 189-run stand for the third wicket in the first ODI.

On Rohit Sharma's poor record in South Africa where the Indian limited overs vice-captain has scored at 12.28 in the seven matches, he played before the first ODI in which he was dismissed for 20.

Cullinan said,"In these conditions, he needs to be a little more cautious. I think he has to play the longer innings with a bit more patience. I think if he does that, we know how heavily he can score in the end."

Putting behind the pitch controversy of the third Test that was played at the Wanderers, Cullinan said it was just one-off incident and the one-day series will see good wickets.

"I expect them to prepare good One-day pitches, good batting wickets. Generally anything roundabout 250-270 will be a good score in South Africa," he said.

Cullinan, however, was optimistic that the Proteas would pip the visitors 3-2 factoring in a game being washed out, in spite of agreeing to India's chances of a series triumph. That confidence could well have taken a blow after the hammering the hosts got at what was considered their fortress at Kingsmead, especially against the Indians. Du Plessis' unforeseen exit from the series would not have helped to boost that confidence either.

Updated Date: Feb 03, 2018

T20 LEAGUE POINTS TABLE

Pos. Team P W L D Pts.
1
Hyderabad
14 9 5 0 18
2
Chennai
14 9 5 0 18
3
Kolkata
14 8 6 0 16
4
Rajasthan
14 7 7 0 14
5
Mumbai
14 6 8 0 12
6
Bangalore
14 6 8 0 12
7
Punjab
14 6 8 0 12
8
Delhi
14 5 9 0 10




Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3499 125
2 South Africa 3589 112
3 Australia 3499 106
4 New Zealand 2354 102
5 England 3511 98
6 Sri Lanka 2914 94
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 5257 125
2 India 5492 122
3 South Africa 3842 113
4 New Zealand 4602 112
5 Australia 3327 104
6 Pakistan 3279 102
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 2990 130
2 Australia 1894 126
3 India 3932 123
4 New Zealand 2542 116
5 England 1951 115
6 South Africa 2058 114