India will be waiting eagerly to face a full strength South African team when they play the first Test in Cape Town on January 5, 2018.
Team India arrived in South Africa and as per changes made in the schedule, will have a couple of practice sessions, instead of a practice match in Boland.
The Indian Express got in touch with opener KL Rahul, who will tour South Africa for the first time. Here are the excerpts from the interview.
Talking about the preparations for the South African tour, Rahul said, “Whenever I got the time, I have prepared keeping the South Africa series in mind rather than the Sri Lanka one that came first. I’ve been practising against the bouncing ball. They are the No.1 bowling attack in the world. They have different skills, they have swing and bounce. They are the best side at home and it will be challenging for a guy like me, who is travelling to South Africa for the first time. The conditions will be what I have not faced before. You take some time to adjust to the conditions, but once I do, I think I’ll enjoy the high-quality fast bowling.”
Talking about his preparatory methods, Rahul explained that he trained in Bangalore, He said, “I know the groundsman, which meant I could ask him to prepare the pitch in a certain way. I made him leave a lot of grass, make the wicket spongy and also leave a little moisture so that the ball does a bit. My sessions were early in the morning too, for good measure. You can replicate the conditions somewhat but never the quality of bowling you’ll have to contend with at international level. So you just prepare in whatever way possible.”
He continued,” The secret of our success is that as a team and as individuals, we never back down from new challenges. We love taking them on. We want to go abroad and do well. We want to put our skills, physical and mental, along with our character, to the test.”
He says about the challenging nature of pitches in South Africa, “Once you go there, there will be a lot of seam movement. You will have to leave a lot of balls, especially against the new ball, and be selective in your strokes. You have to give yourself some time to get set.”
Talking about help received from Ravi Shastri, he said, “He hasn’t said this to me in as many words, but he’s somebody who has helped me a lot. He has helped me mentally and given me confidence as a coach and is like a mentor to all of us. He is constantly asking us to be fearless and back our game. He is someone with whom I can talk about anything.”
Talking about missing the boat in the ODI team Rahul said,” Yes, obviously you would be disappointed if your name’s not there. I’m not thinking too much about it at the moment. I will work harder than before and try to make a comeback.”