Sourav Ganguly has stated that the Indian bowling attack has the ability to dismantle South Africa in their home conditions and can pick 20 wickets. The legendary former skipper has also batted for Hardik Pandya’s inclusion in the Playing XI so as to have the cushion of an extra batsman or bowler.
The Indian cricket team is known to be poor travelers and their performances over the years in South Africa also paint a bleak picture. However, the team under Virat Kohli's leadership has been in exceptional form lately and have equaled Australia’s record of nine consecutive Test series wins, and now stand a chance to usurp them as well. This tour has been touted as the best chance for the Kohli-led side to change the common perception and the team now have the support of former India skipper Sourav Ganguly as well.
"It won't be easy, that much I can tell you. But yes, we have a good team this time. If the batsmen are able to put up runs on the board, this attack can pick the wickets," Ganguly said on the sidelines of the Ranji semifinal between Bengal and Delhi in Pune, reported ToI.
On being asked whether the form of Ajinkya Rahane is a worrying sign for the Indian team, Ganguly backed the Mumbaikar, and said, “Rahane is a quality player.”
Despite being happy with the form of the Indian pace attack, Ganguly advocated employing an extra pace-bowler on a flat pitch and an extra batsman on a green-top surface. He appeared to be in the
“Unless you give him (Pandya) a chance, how would you know?” he said.
India canceled the warm-up game against the Cricket South Africa President’s XI and instead, decided to take Mohammed Siraj, Avesh Khan, Navdeep Saini, and Basil Thampi with the team as net pacers. They have also planned to hire a ground in South Africa, so as to acclimatize themselves with the conditions. While in many quarters, it is believed that it was a bad move by the BCCI, Ganguly said that should not make a huge difference to the team's fortunes.
"Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara and Murali Vijay have all been to South Africa before. So, they have a good idea about the conditions there. And the best thing is that they are going back to South Africa as better players," the CAB president added.