India vs South Africa: Why Virat Kohli & Co. enforced follow-on in Pune?
Before the start of Day 4 of the 2nd Test between India and South Africa, there was just one question in everyone’s mind - will India come out to bat or will Virat Kohli & Co. enforce follow-on. After bowling out the visitors for 275 in the first innings, India picked the latter option, with the Proteas trailing by 326 runs. The decision meant that Indian bowlers will resume their duties while South Africa will come out to bat for their 2nd innings. But what prompted the hosts to make the decision?
In a brief chat with commentator Harsha Bhogle, India bowling coach Bharat Arun explained the reasons behind the decision. “I think they (the Indian bowlers) have been exceptional over the last two years. And the conditions here, we thought pacers would definitely have something to do in case we need to bowl first. Each one’s strengths are different. Umesh is pretty good with the new ball, Shami is good with the new and old ball as well,” he said.
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“The wicket has been pretty placid, in the sense that we got 600 for the loss of five wickets and yesterday, their tail batted exceptionally well. In terms of bounce, yes there is pretty good wear and tear, so yes, the spinners would love that. Depending on what kind of rough there is, we decide on the spinners choosing ends. But during the course of the game, they do switch ends to find out if there is anything,” he added.
“So we do decide earlier but then the decision is taken on the field ultimately too. Our bowlers are prepared (to bowl). They have had sufficient rest and are all ready to go,” Arun concluded.
Former India cricketer Sunil Gavaskar further added that rain threat could be another reason why the hosts should enforce the follow-on. While giving a report on the pitch, Gavaskar said: “I do believe that the Indians should enforce the follow-on. You’ve got five bowlers in your ranks, I think you can rotate the bowlers in a way that nobody gets tired. We’ve seen a lot of turn but not on a regular basis. That is something that the batsmen will keep at the back of their mind.”
He added: “There is always the threat of sudden rain. Plus the pitch being not that difficult means you might need more time to get 10 wickets.”