'We didn't play smart cricket at crucial times.'
India's head coach Rahul Dravid admitted that his team didn't play "smart cricket at crucial times", but backed the beleaguered K L Rahul to get better as a leader in the coming days.
India lost both the Test and ODI series in what turned out to be a disastrous tour of South Africa despite a bright start in the opening Test at Centurion, which the team won comprehensively.
"He did a good job. It's not easy to end on wrong side of the result," Dravid said, when asked how he found Rahul as a leader, having lost all the four games he captained in on the tour.
"He is just starting out and I think he did a very decent job. He will constantly get better as he captains," said Dravid.
He felt that "execution of skills" was lacking in all the three ODIs that India lost.
The series, according to Dravid, is a "good eye opener" but there is still a lot of time before the 2023 ODI World Cup, and India should be getting better in the near future.
"This is a good eye opener but we haven't played a lot of ODI cricket. We last played against England in March (after that second string side played against Lanka under Dravid's coaching). We will play a lot of white ball cricket before next year's World Cup."
Dravid accepted that the Indian ODI team for the series didn't have the kind of balance required although he agreed that one can try and start looking at the template.
"The guys who play at 6, 7, and 8 weren't available for selection and when they come back, the side will have a slightly different look," he said.
He agreed that till the 30th over in both the chases, they were in the game before some of the batters played poor shots.
"We didn't play smart cricket at crucial times," he added.