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Just before the return series against England, a number of India's Test players were in South Africa, playing the Champions League T20. Shane Watson played the early part of the tournament, but was called back by his board to prepare for the Tests against South Africa.

The BCCI are major stakeholders in the IPL and the CLT20. It isn't in their commercial interests to act in similar fashion. The Indian players, therefore, might have no choice but to prioritise their franchises.

The one change that overlapped precisely with the World Cup was the identity of the head coach. Under Gary Kirsten, India often batted with a sense of backs-to-the-wall grit. Their tailenders helped save matches at Bangalore (Australia, 2008) and Ahmedabad (New Zealand, 2010) and win a thriller at Mohali (Australia, 2010). Their batsmen dug in for 180 overs to save a Test match at Napier after following on, in 2009.

Under Kirsten, South Africa have just batted 148 overs to save the Adelaide Test. As he did with Gautam Gambhir, he seems to have helped attacking batsmen like AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis deal with the challenge of defending for long periods. Duncan Fletcher is reckoned to be brilliant at coaching technique. It remains to be seen if he, like Kirsten, can help batsmen make mental adjustments.

In the first Test of Kirsten's last tour, at Centurion, India collapsed in the first innings, but dug deep to score 459 in the second, when all was already lost. Their resistance barely took the Test into the fifth day, but it played its part in giving their batsmen confidence for the rest of the series. In Durban, on a made-to-order pitch for the South African quicks, India outbatted and outbowled their opponents in a famous victory. Much like England at Ahmedabad and Mumbai, 2012.

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