Javagal Srinath believes that India's bowling attack has plenty in its armoury to do well in South Africa and asked pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar to turn into the strike bowler for the team. The “Mysore Express” has also added that the bowlers needed to bowl more to become better at their craft.
India has never won a Test series in South Africa since the latter’s reinstation to Test cricket post-apartheid in 1992 and, when Virat Kohli-led team will begin their tour with the first of three Test matches on January 5, they will try to rewrite the history books. And there is a reason for optimism this time around as well thanks to the bowlers that India has taken with them to South Africa. Former pace ace Javagal Srinath, who was part of the various touring Indian squad to the African nation, is excited about India’s pace stocks and pinpointed Bhuvneshwar Kumar as the key man.
"This is the best fast bowling combination in India at the moment," said Srinath, who collected 43 wickets in the eight Test matches he played in South Africa. "I go by what I've seen in the last one-and-a-half years. I strongly feel Bhuvneshwar will be the strike bowler - or at least he should be treated like one. He should be used economically and in short spells. Over the past few months, he has been outstanding,” Srinath told Cricbuzz.
"Bhuvi has added a couple of yards of pace to his deliveries and has been moving the ball with greater control. Bhuvneshwar swings the ball both ways and at an alarming pace. With the kind of pace he gets, he can be a great asset for the team on South African wickets which usually have bounce and carry.
"The team management has to take care of him and ensure he lasts the series. He should not be used as second fiddle, where he is made to bowl donkey overs and is tired by the second or the third Test. He should be well-supported by the others.”
With the growth of international matches, players,
"When it comes to handling pressure, I think, the IPL has fast-tracked players. In the IPL, they always play under pressure and players tend to learn more when under pressure. In that sense, I think they are all experts in handling pressure," the 48-year-old said.
"The advent of T20 has changed wickets worldwide, so I don't think we will get wickets like we used to 15 years ago. Most wickets are batting friendly these days. This means more work for the bowlers. If you are able to get 20 wickets in a Test match, it means the workload on the bowlers has increased 100%. That's why you cannot afford to make too many mistakes with line and length."
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 quickly. Consequently, as the ball gets older, it becomes easier to counter and the surface in the African nation also aids pacers more and that might be a worrying sign for the Indian team. On being asked to generalize South African conditions, Srinath refused to state anything on that and stated overseas Tests will help in translating the cricketing acumen to good results.
"When it comes to cricket acumen, there is no deficit in these boys, but it has to translate into performance in Test matches because we don't play many overseas Tests these days. I'm sure they have the capacity and the capability to deliver in these matches. The only thing they have to make sure is that any bowler should not be bowling too many overs. They should be effective enough to get the opposition out in 100-120 overs in an innings. If that happens and the Indian batting clicks, I don't see a reason why we cannot dominate."
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