Former India off-spinner, Ramesh Powar has showered praise on Keshav Maharaj after he bowled a terrific spell and amassed magnificent figures of 9/129 in the first innings of the ongoing SSC Test against Sri Lanka.
In May 2018, Maharaj was part of a 16-player squad which visited Mumbai for a week-long camp for spinners, organized by Cricket South Africa (CSA) to prepare for the Sri Lankan tour during which he was fortunate enough to get the guidance of Ramesh Powar, who has a stellar first-class record in Indian conditions.
Having seen Keshav from close quarters, Powar was quoted telling TOI as, "He's talented. He knows what he's doing. Basically, he's very smart. His thought process is very good. He knows how to bowl on these wickets. He'll be a dangerous bowler when he comes to India, I couldn't watch his performance live. I came to know about it later, but I tweeted immediately because I had worked on him for a week. He's a hard-working guy. He used to bowl for hours together in the nets and would work on his batting too. He's a tactical guy, who thinks a lot."
During that camp a few months back, he said, "We were working on his strategies. What his field settings should be, what length he should bowl in the subcontinent. He came across to me as a very down to earth guy, who was open to learning new things. He had just enjoyed a good series against Australia at home, where he bowled well."
"He used to pick my brains and discuss field placements and what lengths to bowl in this part of the world. I told him that in the subcontinent, you've to bowl the 'hitting the stumps length,' and not back of the length. You've to bowls a little further up, to encourage the batsman to drive. That length helps you spin the ball and put him in trouble. Here, you can't give the batsmen 'time' to play you. Even Virat Kohli, if you saw the other day, was out to a bowl which was pitched slightly further up.
Maharaj has a very fine record for South Africa with 78 wickets at an average of 28.28. Powar further talked about him and said that he can be a threat for the Indian batsmen when Proteas arrive in 15 months time to play a 3 Tests series here.
"We didn't discuss technique much, since you don't do that much with an international player. We spoke about to get 'drift' on the ball. He was able to make the SG ball 'drift' and turn in practice and was able to do the same in Sri Lanka, even though he's playing with the Kookaburra there. He's an interesting guy. He'll be a threatening bowler when we(India) play South Africa next,"
(Inputs from TOI)