Ashish Nehra criticizes KL Rahul’s field setting 


Ashish Nehra wasn’t impressed with KL Rahul’s field settings on Wednesday. The former left-arm pacer found the stand-in skipper too defensive at times, especially against Rassie van der Dussen when he had just arrived at the crease.

After setting a target of 240, India struggled for wickets in the final two sessions of Day 3 in Johannesburg. Although the visitors did get rid of Aiden Markram (31 off 38) and Keegan Petersen (28 off 44), the Proteas managed to reduce the lead to 122, with Dean Elgar and van der Dussen preventing any further damage in difficult conditions.

Nehra suggested that instead of keeping multiple fielders on the boundary, Rahul should have attacked and built pressure on the new batters.

Nehra told Cricbuzz:

“Rassie van der Dussen had just come in, the conditions were difficult, it’s not like the batter had scored a lot of runs and KL Rahul had a deep point for him! They’ll have to rethink this. It’s different if you are leaking a lot of singles and fours from that position, like with the Dean Elgar-Aiden Markram partnership. But here it was a new batter. Ravichandran Ashwin also troubled Rassie van der Dussen but even for him, he (Rahul) had kept a long-on, a deep mid-wicket and a deep square-leg at one moment. You should attack a bit more there because it isn’t easy to hit Ravichandran Ashwin over the top on this wicket.”

Nehra wants the stand-in captain to be responsible on Thursday and keep his players upbeat in Virat Kohli’s absence.

Nehra added:

“Apart from the field setting factor, the most important responsibility for him to do is, in Virat Kohli’s absence, to motivate the team. Even for tomorrow, bowling changes aren’t that important… motivating the team is most important. You might take 2 wickets in the first five overs, then there won’t be any need for motivation. But if that doesn’t happen and 20 more runs are scored, then you see disappointed faces and lowered shoulders – at that point there will be a huge role of captaincy and responsibility will lie with KL Rahul.”

Have no idea how South Africa are 114 for 2 on thatWeve got to start appreciating Dean Elgar and Dimuth Karunaratne more. Two of test crickets most understated, but bloody minded openers of the last few years.

Elgar has been brilliant so far, taking a few blows to the body to remain unbeaten at 46 (121). Van der Dussen looked troubled against Ravichandran Ashwin, but survived some close calls to stay put at 11 (37). India will need to get rid of the pair and in-form Temba Bavuma if they wish to grab a historic series win on Thursday.

“It’s not like South Africa is very ahead in the game” – Ashish Nehra on India’s chances

That’s Stumps on Day 3 of the second #SAvIND Test!South Africa move to 118/2 at the close of play & need 122 runs more. We will see you tomorrow for Day 4 action. Scorecard ▶️

Nehra further admitted that while South Africa would be “very happy” with their efforts, the former seamer didn’t rule India out of the game.

He said the hosts aren’t “very ahead” because the Wanderers pitch won’t allow any batters to be set and Indian bowlers will get their chances.

Nehra added:

“South Africa will be very happy at this moment. We talked about how the pitch doesn’t play tricks immediately after getting rolled upon and how the batting team loses wickets near the end of a session. That cluster of wickets which India was waiting for didn’t come this time. But you have got two wickets… it’s not like South Africa is very ahead in the game because the way this pitch has behaved so far, no batter is set here.”

Eight batters stand between India and history. Live-action will resume at 1:30 PM IST.

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