Series good exposure ahead of World T20: Shastri

"It is a young team and we are still figuring out on what will be our best combination and the best way forward," Shastri said after the third and final T20I was abandoned at the Eden Gardens.

Ajinkya Rahane was slated to open the innings at Eden Gardens, India captain M. S. Dhoni said.   -  K.Bhagya Prakash

'We are much better side in the one-dayers and I expect a very good contest over the next month', India team director Ravi Shastri said.   -  K.Bhagya Prakash

Ravi Shastri, the India team director, indicated a lack of exposure in the T20 format for the national team exposed gaps in their preparedness and execution, as South Africa took the three-match series 2-0 after the final fixture was abandoned due to wet outfield. The visitors chased down 200 to claim a win in a tight opening contest at Dharamsala before wrapping up the series emphatically with a seven-wicket win in Cuttack. India sought a consolation win and an occasion to try out different combinations, but an unseasonal shower in the afternoon at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata eventually prevented a single ball from being bowled.

“I don't want to give any excuses. As a unit we have played very little T20 cricket in a bilateral series. It is a young team and we are still figuring out on what will be our best combination and the best way forward,” Shastri said after the third and final T20I was abandoned at the Eden Gardens. “The first match was close and in the second we were outplayed. We might have lost the series but playing against a team like South Africa was a great exposure in the lead up to the World Twenty20,” he added.

Shastri said he expected the team to peak in the later part of the series. “India can perform much better. We have had a good look in the two games and know what we can expect out of the South Africans. We are a much better side in the one-dayers and I expect a very good contest over the next month,” Shastri said, looking ahead to the ODIs starting on Sunday.

The Indian captain M.S. Dhoni said he was disappointed that he could not try out “some changes” in the team ahead of a gruelling ODI series. “We wanted to make changes in the side. In fact there were three changes that we were looking to make and try out different stuff in both batting and bowling,” Dhoni said after the match.

Dhoni said Ajinkya Rahane was supposed to open the innings, while leg-spinner Amit Mishra and all-rounder Stuart Binny were also slated to be part of the side that was drafted to take on the Proteas.

“This is one venue where you want to come in and play. The history of the ground and also the public here is fantastic. It is sad and a bit disappointing not to play over here,” Dhoni said.

When asked about the upcoming ODIs, Dhoni said he was not expecting any favourable surfaces. “Not really, but we will like to play on surfaces that are generally provided to us. At the same time we want to make the most of the home series,” he said. “The ODI series will be good, and a lot will depend on the kind of wickets we get to play. The toss also will be crucial in certain venues, Kanpur (the first ODI venue) will be one of them,” he added.