Recent Test series around the world have been played on flat wickets which have resulted in an absolute run fest, but have had a negative impact on the image of Test cricket. It’s with this in mind that the South African curators will go about their work in their preparations for this series – we expect to see wickets that offer bounce and movement for the seamers, which are conducive to a contest between bat and ball, while lasting the five days.
Much has been said in the media that South Africa lack the ability to bowl India out twice in an innings. I personally feel those statements are unfounded, if you look at the recent Test matches played, India, New Zealand, West Indies and Sri Lanka have all struggled to bowl out the opposition. To say that the Proteas’ bowling attack lack the ability to strike at home is unwarranted.
I do however feel that Paul Harris has a significant role to play as he recently did against England. Harris took 6 wickets against Australia at Newlands and more recently 5 against England at Centurion. Harris simply can not play the holding game; he needs to attack while being economical.
The Indian team will be relying on Zaheer Khan, Sreesanth and Ishant Sharma in the bowling department. It’s up to these three bowlers to keep India in the series, if they let the likes of Amla, Smith, de Villiers or Kallis get a strong hold, especially early in the series, then they’ll struggle to come back. It’s also been noted that a few of the Indian players are carrying niggles, so they’ll have to keep them fit.
It’s been the batsmen that have let India down in the past, they’ve often come undone by the pace and bounce of the South African wickets. This series will be no different; the wickets will be fast and will offer assistance to the seamers.
Previous Indian teams only came out to South Africa ever four years or so, this time round many of the Indian players have been to South Africa a couple of times for the IPL and Champions League. Most of the South African team have also played alongside and against Indian players in the IPL and CLT20, so they know each others games. Add to that, they have Garry Kirsten with them this time round, their batsmen will be a different prospect.
This is not just another Test series for the Indian team, add to their experience in South Africa, India are looking to consolidate and justify their no. 1 position in Test cricket. They have occupied this position for a while now, but have never won a Test series in South Africa, not even come close. Sachin is in the twilight of his career, and a series win in South Africa must surely be a goal that he will go great lengths to tick off on his list of impressive achievements.
The Indian team have opted not to make use of the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) in this Test series. The Indian team are of the opinion that the on field umpiring needs to be improved, rather than making use of technology.
This is going to be a great series with world class players with the likes of Jacques Kallis, Rahul Dravid, Graeme Smith, AB de Villiers, Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn fighting it out, some to keep the unbeaten records in tact and others set on breaking the hoodoo of touring South Africa.
Article by Shaun Custers
- Dravid warns South Africa (thehindu.com)