Melbourne: Three of the sharpest cricketing brains in the South African team management -- coach Russell Domingo and consultants Gary Kirsten and Michael Hussey -- were seen in deep discussion on Saturday at the Melbourne Cricket Ground as the team’s net session drew to a close. There were two significant points of discussion among the trio ahead of today’s Pool B clash at the iconic venue -- India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and star batsman Virat Kohli.
Domingo was heard dwelling on Ashwin. “Ashwin is good... he’s going to be the one to watch out for with his stop-start bowling action,” said Domingo while Kirsten and Hussey nodded in acceptance.
Ashwin was threatening in India’s World Cup opener against Pakistan in Adelaide last Sunday. Though he took just one wicket, vice-captain Virat Kohli hailed his three maiden overs as the “game-changer.”
Ravichandran Ashwin (left) celebrates with Virat Kohli during India’s victorious ICC Champions Trophy campaign during the English summer of 2013. PIC/Getty Images
Kohli’s swift moves
The discussion veered toward Kohli, who was the highest scorer (44-ball 72) as India ousted the South Africans in the semi-finals of the World T20 in Dhaka the last time both teams met in an ICC event. Domingo was seen doing some shadow batting to indicate how Kohli played on the front foot, but at the same time was prepared to quickly adjust his stroke in time.
SA coach Russel Domingo with consultants Gary Kirsten and Michael Hussey during the team's net session at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Saturday
“Kohli just does it so quickly and changes his shot,” said the SA coach, again with his partners nodding in the affirmative. The trio then walked away continuing their discussion in the probable hope that they would have figured out India’s top batsman and top bowler for Sunday’s top clash.
South Africa is a huge threat to India’s ambitions but they are known to succumb to the turning ball.