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T20 series against SA great learning curve for India: Shastri

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Kolkata: Team India director Ravi Shastri today said the 0-2 loss to South Africa in the three-match Twenty20 series is a great learning exposure for the hosts ahead of the next year’s ICC World Twenty20.

The third Twenty20 between India and South Africa was called off today without a ball being bowled because of wet outfield as the Proteas clinched the series 2-0.

“I’m disappointed with the result as anybody would be. We play to win. But it’s not that it will give me sleepless nights. It has taught me a lot as well going forward into the World Twenty20,” Shastri said in the press conference after the abandoned tie.

“First one was close, in the second game we’re outplayed. I don’t want to give any excuses. As a unit we have played very little T20 cricket in bilateral series.”

India lost the first Twenty20 in Dharmasala despite putting up 199, while in Cuttack it was a sorry state of affair as they recorded their lowest total at home, and second lowest overall after being skittled out for 92.

“I would go down to one game really in Cuttack where we could have played much better but we just did not show up. The boys are also disappointing about it. We would have liked to have a full game here. That did not happen. There are a plenty of things to learn,” Shastri said.

“It’s a very long season coming up. It was a great exposure for the team. We might have lost the series but I treat it as a great exposure in the lead up to the World Twenty20,” he added.

Shastri blamed the series loss on India’s less exposure to the Twenty20 Internationals and said the rubber had helped him to get the combination right.

“It’s a work in progress. We have not played T20s. There’s a long way to go. It’s very good that a team like South Africa have come. They are one of the strongest across all formats,” he said.

“It’s a young team, we’re still figuring out on what will be our best combination, the best way forward. No better preparation than playing a team like South Africa who play more T20 cricket than any other team in the world.”

The Twenty20 series is followed by five ODIs and four Tests and Shastri believed Team India would be a much improved side after the South African’s 72-day long tour to India.

“By the time they leave we will be a much stronger time in two-and-a-half months time. We will be a much better team irrespective of the result,” he said.