Among the newest Test venues in India is the Jharkhand State Cricket Association (JSCA) stadium in Ranchi. It hosted its maiden Test in 2017 between India and Australia which ended in a draw. The final Test of the series between India and South Africa will also be played at this venue.
However, it seems that the visitors are not entirely happy with their stay in Ranchi. While the stadium has been praised over the years for its facilities and other attributes, the hotel at which the Proteas side is staying has got less than favourable reviews from the team.
Speaking at the press conference on Thursday, Dean Elgar, the South African opening batsmen, subtly took a potshot at the hotel in which his team have been placed. Speaking about the challenges of playing in India, Elgar stated: "You get to know yourself a lot as a person when you come to the smaller places where the hotels are maybe not as good, and you get challenged on the field."
This statement from Elgar can be connected to the situation that arose in Ranchi regarding the lodging arrangements of both teams. The two sides were scheduled to stay at the Radisson Blue hotel. Unfortunately, the hotel didn't have enough rooms for both the squads, hence the Proteas unit had to be stationed, instead, at Hotel Lilac.
The very start of South African team's stay at Lilac was inauspicious. The team bus was unable to enter the hotel premises for quite some time. As a result, the players and support staff had to get down from the bus to reach the hotel building.
It is not entirely clear what are the exact problems with the hotel for the Proteas side. One can only hope it doesn't affect their performance in a big way. Over the years, it has been believed that overseas players no longer face the kind of difficulties they used to at one time in India.
The problems for South Africa, however, are not limited to just the hotel. Their players have underperformed and have also faced injuries. Keshav Maharaj, the lead spinner in South African squad, had very little success in the first two Tests. Furthermore, he won't get an opportunity to make amends as he has been ruled out of the final game due to injury.
The same thing has happened with Aiden Markram also. Dismissed cheaply in both the first two Tests, Markram too has suffered an injury which would deny him a chance to get a good score under his belt in the Ranchi Test. This, certainly, is turning out to be a forgettable tour for South Africa.