South Africa are still No 2, but they are closing the gap on the Indians. Centurion has been a very good Test venue. The Indian team has steadfastly refused to blame the pitches in the Test series loss and that is winning them plaudits.
Shastri's dig at experts came following former India opener Virender Sehwag's criticism of skipper Virat Kohli's selection policy. Famously known for his breathtaking cover drives, the ferocious Indian batsman is also the 31st player to bag 900 points in the immensely followed cricket rankings for cricketers which are based on their recent performances. Faf du Plessis himself has criticized the Centurion strip.
"In this series there have been times when it's looked tough but there have been guys scoring runs and taking wickets". So that's the difference. I like people who score runs everywhere. Everyone has chipped in."Kohli, though, disagreed". If Ajinkya had played first, and not done well, you would have asked me the same question, why Rohit hasn't played.
He continued, "The pitch we play on, it is the same pitch for both sides". I certainly don't think like that and no one in the change room thinks like that. "I feel there is always a battle between bat and ball, so for me that is a good Test wicket".
It is understandable that the Proteas and the cricket public want conditions that will help their team, especially after the disgraceful pitches produced by India the last time South Africa toured there. "They have a job to do, so they are entitled to what they say", he said. And you hope that those mistakes don't happen again because at times they are school boy errors.
The one good thing about Kohli's press conference compared to the earlier times when India used to lose away is that Kohli is openly showing his hurt, hence the combative answers even if arguable in their logic. They were far superior than us in the field.
"We need to be hard on ourselves", said Kohli after India were blown away by debutant fast bowler Lungi Ngidi on the fifth day of the second Test at SuperSport Park. So obviously we want to get a whitewash against India.
Skipper Virat Kohli did protest over cramming the tours without any rationale and packing all formats in one huge package without any consideration for the players who play in all three formats.
"We did [look like the number one side]", Shastri said.
However, if today's practice session at the Wanderers was any indication, there is a possibility of Rahane being drafted back into the playing XI for the inconsequential third Test starting here on Wednesday.
Pollock's comments come after Kohli scored a brilliant 153 in the second Test against the Proteas in Centurion.
India's record of nine consecutive series victories is on the line after the hosts took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. It was a similar call by the then captain MS Dhoni that cost Rahane his place in the ODI squad about three years back, and he has failed to cement it since.