SA Vs IND Test Series Had ‘Ample Emotion’, Ashes 2021-22 Lacked It: Ian Chappel

Trailing 1-0 in the series, hosts South Africa bounced back beautifully to eventually bag the remaining two games and win series 2-1 against all odds.

Virat Kohli (centre) congratulates Rassie van der Dussen after South Africa beat India in Cape Town.

Australian great Ian Chappell feels the just-concluded Test series between India and South Africa involved the kind of emotion that the lop-sided Ashes lacked completely. (More Cricket News)

Beaten comprehensively in the three-match series opener, South Africa bounced back in style to claim the rubber 2-1 after convincing victories in the second and third Test against their fancied opponents. 

"South Africa surprisingly defeated India in an old-fashioned dogfight that included some enthralling cricket. It also involved ample emotion of the sort that has notably been missing from an Ashes contest that has been surprisingly uncontroversial so far," Chappell wrote in his column for ESPNcricinfo.

The former Australia captain added, "The South Africa series featured bowling domination on pitches that were probably too much in favour of the fielding side, but there was also some exquisite batting." 

While both teams fought hard to outdo each other throughout the series, the Ashes series between traditional rivals Australian and England turned out to be completely one-sided with the former dominating their beleaguered visitors. 

The hosts sealed the five-match series with three successive wins before England just about managed to halt the Australian juggernaut in the fourth Test with a hard-earned draw. Australia won the fifth Test with two days to spare, to take the series 4-0.

"The Australia-versus-England series has often been frustratingly one-sided. It was apparent again when the ebullient Travis Head, aided by Marnus Labuschagne and Cameron Green, launched a defiant counterattack in Hobart.

"In the first three Tests it was mainly the home side displaying the grit and application that five-day cricket requires. That led to 12 days where Australia steamrolled their way to a series victory, while English cricket was exposed for all its ineptitude," Chappell said. 

He added, "It was only when Joe Root's batting skill was duplicated and England finally applied some bowling nous that a Test was saved. Even then it was a close call. 

"At the SCG, Australia were still by far the better side, expertly led and prepared to expend the required energy, but at least England unearthed some much needed fight."

Chappell also believed that the administrators should start valuing the selectors more highly than coaches. 

"A good Test selector is capable of including both considerations in his choices and that is why they are highly regarded. When it comes to financial rewards, cricket should start valuing selection more highly than coaching; it would make a pleasant and worthwhile change," Chappell said. 

Speaking on the role of selectors, Chappell cited as example the 28-year-old South African Keegan Petersen, who had played just two Tests coming into the series against India.

However, he showed a lot of composure against the strong Indian bowling attack and was unfortunate to have not got a century after scoring three fifties in the series.

"... In particular, Petersen's sudden rise to fame has been a revelation and raises the question of where he has been all this while. This example exposes one of the mysteries of Test cricket: do some selectors know what they should be looking for?

"Petersen is in his prime, at 28, but he has only played five Tests. Despite lacking experience he has all the requirements of a Test No. 3, including a wide range of shots that he is prepared to play, plus a solid defence. 

"So why is he only playing now? Sometimes players deserve an opportunity on potential and temperament alone and this is where good selection stands out," Chappell pointed out.