Ravi Shastri sends warning signs to South Africans

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Ravi Shastri sends warning signs to South Africans

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SportsCafe Desk

12/31/2017

Ahead of the much-anticipated series against South Africa, Ravi Shastri, with his usual swagger, stated that India are up for challenges that will be thrown at them by the hosts. He, though, didn’t forget to credit South Africa's bench strength as the main reason for their overseas success.

Since South Africa reinstated to Test cricket post-apartheid in 1992, no sub-continental side have managed to win a Test series in the Rainbow Nation and India arrived in Cape Town in their pursuit to change the history books. However, it will not be an easy proposition for the visitors as Virat Kohli and his men will encounter conditions where the ball could seam around and bounce and they will be tested to the limit. But while addressing the first press conference after arriving in the nation for the three-match Test series, Shastri sounded confident and stated that the current Indian team has the experience and bench strength to challenge the hosts.

"Well, all I'll say is this team is up for the challenge. If you had asked me four years ago whether it (rankings) was up for the challenge, I would have said no. But this team has gained in experience and you have bench strength in the fast-bowling department which is the key in taking 20 wickets at the places," Shastri said in SA. 

“And the beauty about this team is it doesn't matter which opposition it is. We respect all oppositions, we look at the pitch and adapt to those conditions. It doesn't matter who the opposition is. We have that opportunity, we sense it and we've treated it as a challenge.”

The Kookaburra ball, which will be used in the series, swings a lot more when new and it has less of a seam than the Duke ball, and that's why loses its shine quicker. Consequently, as the ball gets older, it becomes easier to counter. The surface also aids pacers more and that might be a worrying sign for the Indian team. 

On being asked about the same, Shastri said, "For us, every game is a home game. Even this is a home game for us at Newlands. You see the pitch, you adapt. No excuses, no complaints. Two teams have to play on that surface.

"Tomorrow you go to England and it might be seaming all over the place. You come to India it might be turning. If you want to be rated as a side, you adapt to the conditions. It's as simple as that. Leave all the other crap aside and try and compete in the conditions that on offer."

Even though the home-away factor has been drastically increased recently, often making the result an inevitable one before the series, South Africa have held their own by being the best travelers over the years. Their overseas success can be attributed to their brilliant bench strength and the ability to counter both spin and pace at equal measure. Shastri praised the hosts for the same and credited them for traveling well overseas.

“They are obviously a good, solid, all-round side. In fact, I've mentioned last two years no team has travelled well. India has started doing well. If you look before that, it's always been South Africa, ahead of any team. It's a team that was in transition but you've always had good bench strength. That's the key for South Africa's success, you've always had bench strength in the bowling department and the batting department.”

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