At the time when Dave Callaghan got into the South African cricket team, it was a skilled team full of good players. It was hard to break into the national team in the mid and late nineties because there were so many consistently good players. However, Callaghan believes that the present team has a good crop of players playing freely.
Extracts from the interview.
What do you think about South Africa’s performance thus far?
Their performance is really good. Many of them have played in the Indian Premier League (IPL) in the previous seasons; and some have played from the time the IPL began. That has definitely assisted them a lot. They are aware of the conditions and know the Indian players. This makes their job much easier. Their batting has also been amazing during the tour.
What were the problems for India?
I believe bowling in this series was a problem for India. They were unable to hold the South African batsmen, therefore the scoreboard pressure was always there. There was pressure for the batsmen to hit a big total, and that will not happen every time. Sadly, it came in Mumbai for India.
What do you think about MS Dhoni’s batting these days?
Over the years, Dhoni has been an outstanding player. But you get affected somehow when pressure is placed upon you. His presence on the team in being questioned. When someone is experiencing such pressure, he will obviously want to bat differently. He seems to want to bat more freely. I believe there’s an immense amount of external pressure on him, and sadly the batting around is not very reliable. He is uncertain about whether the guys before or after him will hit enough runs, so he has to play a senior role. He is able to play like AB De Villiers when the guys before him hit enough runs. De Villiers is able to do that because his team mates are consistently good.
Were South African bowlers definitely better than the Indians?
All of them are wicket-takers. Morne Morkel has had a positive influence this series. He was able to restrain the Indians and keep them quiet. Imran Tahir was crucial in the middle overs, and Dale Steyn performed excellently in the death. Tahir was able to seperate some vital partnerships. The young Rabada was great. He handled the pressure very well. The most crucial thing in one-day cricket is taking wickets, and South Africa’s bowlers were able to do that.
Do you think De Villiers is presently the best batsman in the world?
Yes I do, he is an outstanding player. I really glad he plays for South Africa. Team unity is crucial, and the team enjoys being on tour together. They enjoy each other’s accomplishments.