'Ishwar Pandey the find of India 'A' tour of South Africa'
India ‘A’ coach Lalchand Rajput says pacer Ishwar Pandey was the find of the South Africa tour and many young players from that squad stand a good chance being selected for the senior team which will travel there later this year.
The team, led by Cheteshwar Pujara, won the triangular one-day series featuring the A teams of India, Australia and South Africa and then drew the two-match 'Test' series against the hosts.
Pandey took seven wickets in the first Test and four in the second. In the preceding tri-series, he took five in two matches.
"South Africa is always a difficult tour. It is challenging for the players and support staff. It is very heartening that we did so well, because people never thought we would do so well in South Africa. The players responded very well and, overall, it was an excellent tour for us," Rajput said.
"In bowling department, the find was Ishwar Pandey, who did well in one-dayers and 'Tests'. Jaydev Unadkat and Mohammad Shami also bowled well," he added.
Image: Ishwar Pandey
Rohit, Pujara were impressive
Most of the players have been impressive -- like Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Suresh Raina, and, as a wicketkeeper, definitely Wriddhiman Saha."
Rajput, who was also coach of the 2007 T20 World Cup-winning Indian team, said since the senior side is scheduled to tour South Africa, people had a lot of interest in the just-concluded series.
"It was a tour where people had set their eyes on, since we are going there in November-December. Even selectors were having a keen look.
“One selector (Viram Rathore) was also there. So the players who have done well, definitely they (selectors) will start ringing (the players) for the Test and ODI series," the former India opener said.
Image: Rohit Sharma
Photographs: Lee Warren/Gallo Images/Getty Images
'Dhawan was butchering bowlers'
Rajput, however, conceded the wickets that the team encountered were not as quick as they are expected to be.
"They were not as quick as we expect them to be in November-December (during the Team India's tour), but it was a fairly good environment to get used to."
Rajput also had special words of praise for opener Dhawan's performance, saying the left-handed batsman simply tore apart the opposition attack during his whirlwind knock of 248, the second highest score in limited-overs games, against South Africa in the round-robin stage.
"The way he was batting, it was like he was butchering the bowlers. He is in tremendous form and is a man with a lot of confidence. He is growing from strength to strength.
"The way he played in one-dayers, it was heartening. In one-day cricket, he would have got almost 300 runs, the way he was batting. The main thing is that he is playing proper cricketing shots," Rajput said.
Image: Shikhar Dhawan
Photographs: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
'Rohit is showing his class now'
The former player also praised Mumbai batsman Rohit Sharma, saying the 26-year-old has started living up to his potential.
"He has got lots of talent and potential and now he is delivering that. He has got so much potential that he could be a consistent performer. That is what he is trying to do now, play and perform consistently."
On captain Pujara's performance, the coach said, "As a batsman he played well in both one-dayers and 'Tests'. He wants to score runs and values his wicket. Overall, he did extremely well."
Rajput defended the lukewarm display of opening batsman Murali Vijay, who failed to get a big score against his name in the tour games.
"He is a good player and has performed well in the national team. In one-dayers he got into 40s but could not convert them (in big scores). He was batting well but did not get a big score. He is a good player and just because he didn't get runs in one match does not mean that we should look beyond him," Rajput added.
Image: Rohit Sharma
Photographs: Gareth Copley/Getty Images