Cheteshwar Pujara has backed India pacers to set up a series win in South Africa saying that fast bowlers are the team's strength and that they will be able to utilize the playing conditions in the country. The two teams are scheduled to play three Tests and as many ODIs starting from December 26.
India are scheduled to play South Africa in three Tests and as many ODIs starting, beginning December 26. India have been a good red-ball side in recent years, with a well-rounded fast-bowling unit being a feature of their success. They won a four-match Test series by 2-1 in Australia earlier this year, before leading by 2-1 against England before the series was postponed due to the covid-19 outbreak. Their next aim is that of earning a maiden series win in South Africa.
India No.3 Cheteshwar Pujara has backed the seamers to set up the team's wn in South Africa, labelling them as the team's strength. Pujara also mentioned that fast bowlers have been the difference for the team whenever they have toured abroad in recent years.
"Our fast bowlers have been the difference between the two sides whenever we have played abroad. If you look at the Australia series, even if you look at the England series, we have done exceptionally well as a bowling unit and I am sure that will be the case even in South Africa. Our fast bowlers are our strength and I hope that they will be able to utilise these conditions and give us 20 wickets in every Test match,” Pujara told the BCCI.
India recently won a two-match Test series against New Zealand at home by 1-0. Most of the squad members for the South Africa series were part of the team against New Zealand, whereas Hanuma Vihari and Priyank Panchal represented the India A team against South Africa A. South Africa played their last Test fixture in June against West Indies in Gros Islet.
Pujara feels that the most of the members in the squad are in touch as they played the New Zealand series recently. He also feels that this will be the best opportunity for India to win their first Test series in South Africa.
"The good thing is we played a couple of Test matches in India," he said. "So most of the guys are in touch, and when it comes to preparation, the support staff has been excellent. They have been supporting us well and we have five or six days more before we head into the first Test. I am sure there is enough time for us to prepare and guys are looking forward to this series. This is the best opportunity for us to win our first series in South Africa. So all of us are looking forward to it."
The series will take place in a bio-secure environment. Cricket South Africa(CSA) were originally thinking to have slightly relaxed bio-bubble plans but the emergence of Omicron variant in the country changed their plans. Reflecting on living in bio-bubble, Pujara opined that there are some challenges in it but it also helps the team environment.
"Sometimes I feel bio-bubble helps the team environment where you end up spending more time with the team players, you are in the team room, you are having more team dinners together, so overall I feel sometimes it helps the team environment but yes, there are some challenges as well,” he said.
“You are not allowed to go out, you cannot explore the country. So there are restrictions as well but at the same time you are getting to play some cricket and that's the most important thing being a cricketer. We want to play some cricket and we are able to play cricket even in a biosecure bubble, so that helps."
The first Test will be played in Centurion, beginning December 26.