Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) acting secretary Amitabh Chaudhary has said that Pakistan will have to make its own call in deciding whether to participate in the Asia Cup.
The Asia Cup is scheduled to take place in India in September this year but there have been doubts regarding the participation of Pakistan in the continental event.
Chaudhary told ANI reporters this week that the Asia Cup was a part of the ICC Future Tours Programme (FTP) and as such, the options for Pakistan remain limited.
“Asia Cup is a part of the FTP. Irrespective of the names of the teams, the tournament has already factored in. There is nothing about it. That (participation) is a question that Pakistan has to decide. In 2015, in the World T20 in India, Pakistan participated,” Chaudhary stated.
Cricketing ties between the two countries remain thawed due to the geo-political turmoil. All cricketing action between the two arch-rivals and neighbours currently remains restricted to ICC multi-team events.
With the government of India not having given any clarity on whether Pakistan players would be granted visas for the Asia Cup, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Najam Sethi had threatened to exercise their right to withdraw from the tournament.
India had made a similar objection and threat to Pakistan being given the rights to host the 2018 Emerging Asia Cup.
Relations between the respective boards have soured since India refused to honour the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two signed in 2014. The MoU stated that the two countries will play six bilateral series against each other between 2015 and 2023.
However, changes in the political landscape saw cricketing ties being put on hold with the Indian government refusing to sanction any bilateral series stipulated in the MoU.
The PCB had last year sent a legal notice to the BCCI for failing to honour the agreement.
India, still the top-ranked Test team in the world, lost the three-Test series in South Africa after capitulating to a 135-run defeat on the fifth and final day of the second Test in Centurion.
Chasing 287 on a dodgy wicket, the Indians were blown away by the pace and accuracy of Lungi Ngidi who finished with seven wickets on his debut.
Here, we look at how the Men in Blue rated:
MURALI VIJAY: 5/10
The opener battled his way to 46 in the first innings but failed to drive home the advantage. Also, misjudged a sitter in the field in the first innings, giving a life to opener Dean Elgar on 14 as the Proteas added 85 for the first wicket.
When India loses like this overseas, we criticise the team. This is not a team issue, it’s a long standing Indian cricket issue, that we have failed to resolve. #INDvSA— Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) January 17, 2018
KL RAHUL: 2/10
A disastrous match for the opener. Wafted at a wide delivery in the second innings to be out caught at point. Also dropped Faf du Plessis on six in the second, with the South Africa skipper making 48 and putting the match beyond India.
I will be very surprised if it isn't mandatory, going ahead, to play a minimum of two first class matches before the first away test.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) January 17, 2018
CHETESHWAR PUJARA: 3/10
The first Indian batsman to be run out in both innings of the same Test. Went for a needless single in the first innings and a three in the second even though he is a slow runner with dodgy knees.
If India want to do away with the run outs then there is a bloke called Ajinkya Rahane who has had 149 partnerships in Tests without ever being involved in a run out - currently a WORLD RECORD! #RSAvInd— Mazher Arshad (@MazherArshad) January 17, 2018
VIRAT KOHLI: 7/10
His 153 in the first innings single-handedly kept India in the match as he scored half of the team’s total of 307. That India weren’t defeated by a bigger margin was down to his near flawless innings made at a strike rate of 70. However, his decision to keep Ajinkya Rahane out of the team goes against him.
Fiery press conference from Virat Kohli today. Counter-questioned me about "what is India's best XI" and later asked a South African journalist about "how many times SA have come close to winning in India". #SAvInd— Chetan Narula (@chetannarula) January 17, 2018
ROHIT SHARMA: 5/10
Redeemed himself by hitting 47 off 74 balls on a treacherous fourth innings wicket when every other Indian batsman struggled to get the ball off the square. However, the match was lost by that time.
Rohit Sharma is the only Indian to cross double digit in all four innings of this series...— BrokenStats (@Broken_Statz) January 17, 2018
PARTHIV PATEL: 2/10
Took five catches but also dropped three. In the first innings, dropped Amla on 30 and the batsman made 82. Also grassed Faf du Plessis on 54. In second innings, failed to go for catch of Elgar off Bumrah with batsman on 29. Elgar made 61 and added 141 with ABD.
And Parthiv drops one more... never a pick a wicketkeeper for his batting— Sambit Bal (@sambitbal) January 14, 2018
HARDIK PANDYA: 3/10
His street-cricket level running saw him get run out in the first innings when the conditions were best for batting. He did produce a brilliant piece of fielding to run Amla out for 82.
Early lesson for Hardik Pandya that this game will come to bite you back if you let confidence become arrogance.— Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) January 15, 2018
RAVI ASHWIN: 6/10
Bowled very well to keep the scoring down and ended up with five wickets in the Test. In the first innings, gave good company to Kohli while scoring 38 to take India close to South Africa’s first innings total.
MOHAMMED SHAMI: 6/10
The seamer bowled his heart out in the second essay and took the wickets of De Villiers, Elgar and Quinton de Kock using pace and late movement. A free-flowing 28 with the bat in a losing cause during the chase will give him confidence going into the final Test.
Top class bowling @MdShami11 removing 3 batsman quickly brining is back in the game.. De cock played 4 balls 4 edges no clue🤪 shami at top— Harbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) January 16, 2018
ISHANT SHARMA: 7/10
The best overall Indian bowler in both innings. Gave away runs at less than 2.5 an over in both outings and finished with five wickets in the match. Bowled full and kept the pressure up from his end. A big positive for India in the bigger scheme of things.
JASPRIT BUMRAH: 5/10
Went wicketless in the first innings but was the quickest Indian bowler on display. Reduced the hosts to 3-2 in the second but couldn’t deliver the killer blow. Fine work for a bowler who was until recently considered a limited overs specialist.
With this victory, Faf du Plessis’ men captured the series with an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match contest against the No.1 ranked Test side in the world.
The visitors’ batting once again failed to click and one session on day five was all that was needed by the Proteas bowlers to wrap-up the Indian innings.
Here, we look at the key talking points as India’s overseas woes were exposed.
PUJARA’S DOUBLE WHAMMY
After being run-out for a golden duck in the first innings, Cheteshwar Pujara had done all the hard work in the second, surviving 47 deliveries as India lost three quick wickets on Tuesday.
However, there was another ‘brain fade’ to come from India’s number three batsman on Wednesday as he was caught short of his crease for the second time in the Test. Pujara’s attempt to steal a third run after Parthiv Patel’s glance to third-man saw the right-hander run-out despite a despairing dive.
With this, Pujara created an infamous record of becoming the first Indian batsman and 23rd overall to be run-out twice in the same Test.
In such a crucial match in the context of the series, the 29-year-old’s manner of dismissals in both innings was shambolic to say the least and a bitter pill to swallow for the visitors.
NGIDI’S DREAM DEBUT SEALS WIN
Lungi Ngidi was a somewhat surprising selection for South Africa after the injury to Dale Steyn in the first Test. The 21-year-old was handed his Test debut on his home ground at Centurion ahead of the likes of Chris Morris and Duanne Olivier and he repaid that faith with a performance to remember.
He might have only picked up one wicket in the first innings but on a deteriorating pitch with low bounce, he was literally unplayable in the final innings. Having set the visitors back with his dismissals of Virat Kohli and KL Rahul on day four, the pacer picked up four wickets on Wednesday to seal the victory and the series for the hosts.
The youngster accounted for both of India’s all-rounders in Hardik Pandya and Ravichandran Ashwin before cleaning up the tail to complete a six-wicket haul in the second innings and finish with figures of 6-39. The standing ovation he received from the Proteas dressing room after completing his five-fer said everything about his dream Test bow.
SHARMA AND SHAMI MINI-RESISTANCE TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE
After being reduced to 86-7 following the dismissal of Ashwin, Rohit Sharma and Mohammed Shami got together to put up a brief fight. With the series all but over at that point and with little to lose, Sharma pressed on the throttle while Shami showed he can whack a fair few.
Boundaries flowed as Sharma looked to attack with Keshav Maharaj being at the receiving end for the most part. The pair put on 54 runs for the eighth wicket, the highest in the Indian second innings and third biggest for the visitors in the match.
While the partnership didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, it gave some semblance to India’s batting which crumbled completely under the pressure on the final day.
SOUTH AFRICA SHOW INDIA THE IMPORTANCE OF GOOD FIELDING
While India’s tour has been marked with dropped catches and poor fielding, the hosts have been the polar opposite on the field.
The Proteas have always been a great fielding outfit and they showed that once again on Wednesday. AB De Villiers and Ngidi combined brilliantly near the third-man boundary to affect the run-out of Pujara. Morne Morkel then took an outstanding lunging catch at fine-leg after Parthiv Patel had skied a hook shot off Kagiso Rabada. The tall pacer showed great awareness to not let his elbows touch the ground while completing his lunge to grab the ball.
De Villiers then plucked out a fine catch himself as he scooped up the ball inches from off the ground after Rohit Sharma’s attempted hook shot took a top-edge.
Having outclassed the Indians in both batting and bowling, the South Africans showed they are miles ahead when it comes to the fielding department as well.