Smart move by India
Despite the fact that the matches between South Africa A and India A are not being televised, there is absolutely no doubt that many will be keeping tabs on exactly what goes on between the two sides.
Thus far, the occurrences at the Olympia Park in Rustenburg are putting more of a smile on Duncan Fletcher’s face than on that of Russell Domingo as the young Indian players have managed to use their time in South African conditions quite well.
Centuries for three key youngsters who will be on India’s tour party to these shores at the end of the year will certainly help the young Indians with their confidence.
In the lead up to the four-day games that the two sides were to play, there were murmurs from some observers that the A sides should really be for young, up-and-coming players and not so much established full internationals.
However, truth be told, it is the prerogative of the selectors in each country to choose whether they play newer and relatively unknown players or not.
The gripe really was because of the relative ease with which the Indian players, who are incumbent in the national one-day international side, won the limited overs triangular involving South Africa and Australia’s A sides.
The move by India is a clever one and is keeping to a formula that bore fruit the last time around, even though it was implemented slightly differently.
Under the tutelage of Gary Kirsten, India sent their senior players to South Africa two weeks or so before their actual tour was to begin in order for them to acclimatise and adjust to the steep bounce on the country’s pitches.
In 2011, the side managed to draw a series against South Africa in South Africa and that was a huge achievement for them. The aim, when they turn up in the country in 2013, will be to go one better.
It has got to be said though that playing against the SA A side at a faraway ground in middle of the North West is somewhat different to playing against the number one test side in the world at the traditional South African test match venues.
As much as they will be tested in terms of skills, the Indian youngsters will have to bring their big-match temperament to the fore if they are to have a chance of turning over the home side. Just to repeat the feats of the previous tour will be an achievement in itself.
The move by the Indians sure is smart and the inclusion of the likes of JP Duminy, Dean Elgar, Kyle Abbott and Wayne Parnell in the South African A side will help the visitors as at least a couple of those players will be in the main Proteas side during the end of year tour -- if not for the test matches then certainly in the limited overs games.
In this era of international cricket where it seems that warm-up matches are no more, the time spent in the country will serve as early warm-up for the Indians.