We have a score to settle with India, says Faf du Plessis

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We have a score to settle with India, says Faf du Plessis

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SportsCafe Desk

01/05/2018

Faf du Plessis has highlighted the loss against India in 2015 and claimed that the South African team are keen to level the score with the Indians. Du Plessis has admitted the threat from Virat Kohli but he added that if the SA bowler can control his run-flow then they have a good chance of winning.

Du Plessis has tried to add some pressure on the visiting Indian side and his counterpart Virat Kohli by saying that they are eager to settle a score with the visitors. Ahead of the much-anticipated series, the skipper talked about the 2015 series which was played in India between both countries and the Proteas ended it with a 3-0 loss in four Tests. 

"I don't know when the next Test series against India is, but it's probably the last time all of us (senior players) play against India and there's no better way than playing a series in South Africa. We were disappointed the last time we went there and we've got a score to settle, so we're excited for this series," he added.

In the clash of the two top Test teams, the pitch will play a very crucial role. In 2015, South Africa had visited India for four Tests with India preparing huge rank turners for the series. The South African side failed to register a single win in the four match Test series and now when India playing against them in their den, the South African team have a genuine chance of taking revenge for that. Du Plessis mentioned that the pitch for the first Test against India which will be starting at Newlands on Friday looked ideal for his team.

"I like the fact that there is some sort of preference that we can try to get an advantage. I think the groundsman has done a fantastic job with the heat. The wicket looks good. It looks like it's going to be exactly what we wanted."

Kohli, who seemed unstoppable throughout last year, perfectly led his side while scoring runs for his team. In 2017, the Indian skipper played ten Tests scoring 1059 runs at an average of 75.64 including five centuries and one half-century. His South African counterpart didn’t highlight any rivalry with Kohli or any other Indian player in the series, but appealed to his side to target the entire playing XI to have the best chance of winning the series.

"Obviously Virat is a very good player. His stats don't lie. We are hoping we can put some pressure on him. If we can keep him quiet, we have a much better chance. But I see it as South Africa against India, I don't see a rivalry between us. We don't look at Virat alone. He doesn't get more time than any of the other Indian batsmen," Du Plessis stated.

Du Plessis was recently left out of the lone day-night Test against Zimbabwe due to an injury. In his absence, AB de Villiers, who made his return to the longest format of the game for the first time since January 2016, led the team. Dale Steyn is another player who is considering the series as his come back game. 

"It was frustrating at times. It's 11 weeks now and I just feel now like I'm ready to play. Obviously, time at home is nice, and the good thing is I didn't miss much cricket for South Africa.

"I'm extremely hungry to play again. I would have liked to play against Zimbabwe but the batting feels good and hopefully, I can take off from here," said the skipper.

"This selection is probably one of the hardest that we are going to have to make. There are just so many combinations you can look at. It's a nice headache to have, a possibility to play four seamers but we're still talking about what could be our strongest eleven."

Steyn, who played 85 Tests claiming 17 wickets for the Proteas, was out of international cricket for more than a year. Last time, in November 2016, he doned the white jersey for South Africa against Australia.

"It's a tough call. For me, he is the best bowler in the world. He hasn't played for a while and he hasn't got the overs under his legs that he would have wanted. But facing Dale in the nets, the skill feels like it hasn't gone anywhere. He has got the same pace and the same swing. Skill-wise it's like he has just jumped back on that bicycle and is riding again."

Team India failed to register a single series win on the South African soil and the hosts want to maintain that record ahead of the much anticipated tour.

"I think with the makeup of our squad we have so many different options you can look at picking a different team for different venues. That's our thinking. We will make the team decision we believe is the best specifically for Newlands."

This series marks the top-two ranked sides in ICC Test ranking coming together. India maintained their top position with 124 points and followed by South Africa who has 111 points which means that India are not going to lose their No. 1 spot even if they suffer an unlikely 3-0 defeat.

"It's good that we can have some importance to this series. Big series is why you play. We don't have an Ashes so it's good to see that India versus South Africa can start becoming a really big series.

"There are some really high-class players that are going to bash it out over the next four weeks. So that's exciting," the 33-year-old said.

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