Centurion, January 12
India may have lost the first Test but Virat Kohli and his men aren’t discouraged. India pacer Jasprit Bumrah sent out the message loud and clear, saying one does not deserve to play if one debacle dents his confidence. “Confidence is not dented after one match. If it happens, then you don’t deserve to play,” said Bumrah, who made his Test debut in the series opener in Cape Town. “Learn from the mistakes you made and go forward. There is not a single cricketer who has not made a mistake.”
Bumrah said he would rather pick positives from the Cape Town defeat. The biggest positive for the rookie bowler was dismissing AB de Villiers in both the innings. “It was not a dream debut, but I am happy with whatever I learnt from that match. You look to get your first wicket early, and I got de Villiers,” Bumrah said. “It was a happy moment. As a bowler, my motto is not to get too excited, nor too discouraged after every match.”
Bumrah had a mixed outing at Newlands. He went for runs in the first innings at a time when India needed to keep South Africa quiet, but roared back in the second innings, triggering a collapse that saw the hosts lose eight wickets for 65 runs.
Attributing the difference in his performance in the two innings to his understanding of the nature of the pitch, Bumrah said: “It’s always challenging whenever you come to a new country. The wickets are different, so is the weather. As you play more and more, you get to know a lot about the wickets. You get a fair idea about where to bowl and what kind of lines to bowl…”
He acknowledged that the Indian bowlers erred in reading the bounce in the surface in South Africa’s first innings, in which the hosts scored 286 runs. “We realised the mistakes we made in the first innings, and rectified them in the second. When there is help from the wicket, you try to do something extra but that doesn’t help. So we were just trying stick to basics,” he said.
The Gujarat pacer said he was not nervous when he was handed his debut cap. “It’s not like I was playing the first first-class game of my life. I have played a lot of four-day games. So my basic plan was to go inside, get a feel of the wicket and make changes accordingly.”
Centurion will be good for batting: Markram
South African opener Aiden Markram is of the opinion that the pitch at Centurion, the venue for the second Test, will be good for batting. “Generally, it’s a good batting wicket, though I am not sure how they have prepared it this time,” said Markram. “There have been a lot of high scores here. I would like to think it will be a good wicket. I am pretty sure it will be similar to last week (Cape Town), maybe not as extreme.”
Markram said playing India was completely different from being pitted against minnows like Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. “Playing against India is a massive step up. There’s a reason why they are the No. 1 team in the world, they have quality players in all departments. They tick all the boxes and they have come here to compete, which is great. As a young guy, it’s awesome for me.”
“Every day you are learning something new, and to be exposed to challenges like that is great. You learn your best lessons at this level. So it was valuable and going into this Test, it’s something I’ll be more aware of,” he said.