Indian leadership should make the right decisions in Australia: Graeme Smith

The Indian leadership should make the right decisions in the key moments and back the right players to get success in the upcoming series in Australia, said the former South African captain Graeme Smith.

Graeme Smith was quite impressed with the development happening in India.   -  PTI

The Indian leadership should make the right decisions in the key moments and back the right players to get success in the upcoming series in Australia, said the former South African captain Graeme Smith on Friday. Delivering his lecture in the second Jagmohan Dalmiya annual conclave-II hosted by the Cricket Association of Bengal, Smith said that the Indian team had the talent to overturn any opposition in any condition, but for that to happen, the team leadership - including the captain, the coach and the selectors – have to back the right players to seize the key moments.

“I know India will be disappointed for not having won the Test series in South Africa or England this year. When I see this Indian team from both the batting and bowling perspectives, I think it has the right environment and can challenge both the oppositions (SA and England).  So, they have some lesson to take when they go to Australia,” he said.

“I think if the selection panel and the captain and the coach can get the right combination in place and if from the leadership perspective the right decisions are made in right time, then I think India will be successful in Australia. It is important for the leadership to learn the lessons and take the right decision to back the right players. Like Ajinkya Rahane not playing in Cape Town (in the first Test in January this year) is one of the decisions if taken could have changed the nature of the results. India certainly has the talent and the ability to do well in Australia,” Smith added.

Smith was quite impressed with the development happening in India. “To watch Indian cricket now is so exciting. For me, India is producing some of the most exciting talents across the board. Be it the youngsters in the IPL like Rishabh Pant, who has the confidence to play his own natural game. That is what we all want to do. I think the exposure in the IPL and the hard work that is being done at the grassroots level and the appointment of Rahul Dravid as the u-19 level and even the domestic cricket are all contributing to the good work that is happening behind the scenes in Indian cricket,” he said.

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Smith was also impressed with the way the Indian seamers. “The exciting development in Indian cricket is not restricted to the batting perspective alone. There is a lot to the bowling perspective especially the young seamers who are impressing a lot with their performance. I cannot just name one like Zaheer Khan, who got me out on a few occasions. There is a whole attack there which is outstanding,” Smith said about the new pack of Indian pacers without singling out anyone.

The former South African captain said that the young bowlers of his country are really shaping up well can contribute to the success of the country in the ICC World Cup next year. “There is a lot of talent in South African cricket, but there is a big gap between the national team and the domestic team. In the current team, we are lucky to have a lot of talent in the likes of (Kagiso) Rabada, (Lungi) Ngidi are terrific and Dayle Steyn is making a comeback from injury. Then, in the short format, you have Keshav Maharaj and Imran Tahir. Form the bowling perspective, we should be really good in the coming days,” he said.

“From the batting perspective, I have my worries, but feel that some people will step up in the coming days. I can single out two players, one is Quinton de Kock. The talent and the quality he has I would like him to join the top echelons of batting like Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, who are consistently putting in match-winning performances. Another talented player who has fetched good numbers is Chris Morris. He is a guy whom I would like to see step up as an all-rounder and give his best in the World Cup next year. Maybe A.B. (de Villiers) will come back (from retirement) for the World Cup,” Smith quipped.

The Jagmohan Dalmiya lecture was followed by a panel discussion, which featured the former Indian captains Mohammad Azharuddin and Sourav Ganguly, and the former West Indian skippers Brian Lara, and Carl Hooper, alongside the star Indian batsman Rohit Sharma. The panel discussed many aspects of India’s triumph in Hero Cup in 1993, which also completed 25 years of the installation of floodlights at the Eden Gardens.