South Africa's captain Faf du Plessis endured a miserable time on the tour of India. His team got walloped in all three Tests and apart from their first innings in the opening game, never put up a good fight. But what has come as a massive surprise is the fact that the Proteas captain seems to be putting the blame of the poor performance of his team on the fact of him losing the toss in all three games.
Du Plessis vented his irritation which led to him presenting Temba Bavuma as proxy for the toss ceremony in the final Test. "Every Test match, they bat first, they score 500, they declare when it's dark, they get three wickets when it's dark, and when Day 3 starts, you're under pressure. It was like copy and paste in every Test match.
"(If there is no toss) then away teams will have a better chance. In South Africa, I don't mind that. We bat on green tops anyway," a despondent South Africa skipper said, according to Cricbuzz.
This view of the South African captain can be easily contradicted by facts. In 2012, India lost a home series to a highly unfancied England. The pitches in that series were far more spin-friendly, as per the demands of the then Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
What's more, India won the toss and batted first in the first three matches. England ended up winning two of those, enough to grab the series. The reasons for England's victory were: a great spin bowling attack, James Anderson's utilisation of spin bowling, and the high-quality batting of the visiting batsmen. All these things were missing from South Africa's effort.
What teams need for winning in India is the ability to bat long and a strong mental effort, not luck with the toss. In 2016, England too thought their loss in the second Test of that series was due to not batting first. But despite batting first in the next three Tests, they lost all of them.
The pitches for this series were flat and without the excessive turn that the 2012 series against England or the 2015 series against South Africa had. The way Keshav Maharaj and Vernon Philander batted in the second Test should prove to any doubter that batting on these pitches and getting good runs was very much possible, if the batsmen applied themselves.
What du Plessis' obsession with toss and batting first shows is a negative mind-set and a lack of strong willpower on the part of the batsmen to battle it out. England too struggled in the first innings of the first Test they played in the 2012 series. But they fought back thanks to their captain Alastair Cook and Matt Prior and came close to saving the first Test. They didn't look back after that.
South Africa, on the other hand, were struggling even against Indian seamers, leave aside spinners. This shows that it wasn't the nature of bowling or even the conditions that were a problem. It was the lack of confidence and willingness to fight. With this kind of mindset, they would be vulnerable against India even at home. Du Plessis needs to look deeper than get hung up over toss.