Kris Srikkanth has backed Virat Kohli's team to push South Africa out of their comfort zone in the three-match Test series that began in Cape Town today. He also predicted that the Indian batsmen would be successful in negotiating the experienced new ball attack of the home team.
The all-dominating Indian side that has torn apart almost every Test side that has visited them in the subcontinent over the last three years. While India’s batting prowess was never under any sort of scrutiny, it is their bowling exploits that have helped them rise to the very top of the rankings. Srikkanth pinpointed the same as the reason he believes that India could end up creating some history in South Africa this time around.
"In a country where they returns have not been great, now is an opportunity to set the record straight. A potential new-ball department and a set of solid batsmen should push South Africa out of their comfort zone. A good time for Kohli and company to hand their fans a perfect new year gift," Srikkanth told TOI.
India, who have now won nine consecutive Test series, have never had too much success in South Africa, where they have never won a Test series. Since 1992, they have lost five series and drawn three. Srikkanth, viewed this series, which spans three Tests, as a great opportunity for India to mend that sorry record in South Africa. The host’s main threat has always been their bowling contingent and with the likes of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander, and Kagiso Rabada, who have taken 976 wickets in 235 Test matches, they still have a formidable attack. However, the former Indian opener has claimed that the current lot are not as “menacing” as their predecessors.
“This pace attack is not menacing as he believes that Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel are past their prime and are no longer the pacemen who can bounce the batsman out.
"Rabada and Philander can be negotiated and there is enough batting in the Indian rank to handle that threat. The pressure won't be sustained and there will be periods of play where the batsmen can score freely. It would also depend on how India start the series," Srikkanth explained.
India’s fearless brand of cricket has won them applause from everywhere. While there have been some detractors who have claimed that the side needs to perform away from home, Rahane, Kohli, and Vijay already have 19 centuries away from home from a total 40 they have scored in their career. Srikkanth pointed out the three of them as the main men for India on the tour.
"This is India's best chance to win a Test series in South Africa. In Vijay, Kohli, Rahane the visitors boast a strong top order, which has tasted success in these conditions. The true bounce and pace of the wicket in Cape Town should suit KL Rahul's style of play. Generally, Indian batsmen like the ball coming onto the bat and if the new ball threat is staved off, they could be in for a treat," added Srikkanth.
"This current lot under Kohli is a confident lot and there is no fear of failure. They play to win and it will be interesting to see how they approach tough periods of play and how well they can mix caution and aggression."