India coach Gary Kirsten said that he will not judge his team's bench strength on the basis of performance in just one game after the depleted hosts went down to South Africa in the inconsequential third and final ODI in Ahmedabad on Saturday.
"It's difficult to judge the bench strength by one game. I see it as an opportunity for the younger players but you cannot judge them by one performance," Kirsten said after the hosts were beaten by 90 runs.
With the series already in their pocket, India went into the tie without seven regulars and were unable to chase down the huge target of 365 to fold up for 275 in 44.3 overs.
Kirsten explained that with India recently winning every series but the reserve players have not had enough exposure at international level.
"We want to win every series and this does not give opportunities for the younger players to get the exposure. But this was a good learning experience for them," said the former South Africa opener.
Kirsten felt the match turned South Africa's way when Proteas captain Jacques Kallis (104), and AB de Villiers (102) plundered the Indian bowling towards the end.
"The turning point was when de Villiers, who played exceptionally well, and Kallis who played the sheet-anchor role, added 100 runs in the last seven overs. They had plenty of wickets in hand," he pointed out. Kallis and de Villiers' third wicket partnership worth 173 in just 102 balls lifted the visitors from 192 for two to the ground-high total that exceeded India's previous best of 325 for five made against the West Indies in 2002.
Looking ahead, Kirsten said that as far as the batting was concerned he was satisfied with the talent available but have to work on the bowling combination.
"From a batting perspective I'm excited by the talent but we don't yet have a settled bowling combination with nine or 10 seamers in the running," he said.