Team India under the leadership of Virat Kohli had a wonderful time in Test cricket in the last few seasons. Such is the dominance of ‘Men in Blue’ that they have recently registered their ninth consecutive Tests series victory. However, the litmus test of world’s number one Test side is still awaiting as they are now gearing up to challenge the Proteas on their own turf.
Considering the way Indian batsmen have piled up mammoth scores in the longest format of cricket lately, out of favour India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has issued warning for the South African bowlers. Bhajji believes that it will be a real challenge for the Proteas attack to keep the current crop of Indian batters quiet.
“Look at the Indian batting line up. We have so much quality. Murali Vijay, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma. This is perhaps among the best line-up in world cricket,” Harbhajan was quoted by TOI as saying.
“For both Steyn and Morkel, it will be a challenge to stop this line-up especially when they themselves will need to get into the groove,” he further asserted.
Harbhajan, who has claimed 417 Test scalps in 103 matches, also suggested the team management to go with Rohit Sharma at the No. 6 position instead of the mercurial all-rounder Hardik Pandya.
"Rohit is a fabulous player. Someone who plays the pull shot well and also plays the cut shot well. Rohit is my pick at No 6. He can ride the bounce and play his strokes. Hardik is a talented boy but Rohit for me is a complete batsman," Bhajji elaborated.
Harbhajan did not want to read too much into India not playing a practice game in South Africa before the first Test match.
"It is a very team-specific decision. The team management must have put some serious thought while taking such a decision. Obviously if they don't have a practice game, possibly, the net bowlers who are going, will provide them with match simulation," the turbanator opined.
"It's a confident team and it's always good to win matches before any overseas tour. Any team that travels overseas loves to believe that it is going there to win the series. The Indian team is no different. We have a good batting line-up and a quality pace attack," concluded Harbhajan.
India Test squad for South Africa series:
Virat Kohli(c), Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Lokesh Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Parthiv Patel, Jasprit Bumrah