Winning Test matches outside the sub-continent has always been one heck of a task for the Indian teams over the years, but chief coach Ravi Shastri believes that current crop of Indian players have it in them to turn things around in their all-important tour to South Africa next month.
"If South Africa tour happens to be tough for our batsmen, our job will be to make it tougher for their batsmen," Shastri told reporters ahead of team's departure from Mumbai on Wednesday (December 27).
With 1-0 series win against Sri Lanka, Team India very recently registered their 9th consecutive Test series victories and with that Kohli equalled Australia’s legendary skipper Ricky Ponting’s feat of most consecutive Test series wins as a captain. India now have a chance to make 10 in a row, however, what sounds difficult is – no Indian side has ever won a Test series on the South African soil.
"The fact is that players have been together for 4-5 years. That experience will stand them in good stead. Conditions will be tough. The next one-and-a-half years will define the Indian cricket," Shastri asserted.
The 55-year-old India head coach also lauded the limited-overs specialist pacer Jasprit Bumrah, who very recently received his maiden call-up in the Test team for the tour of South Africa.
"I think Bumrah is very exciting. He has shown how good he is in ODIs and T20Is. He has shown he's one of the best in the world and has been acknowledged by opponents. I think his confidence level is high and it is a good time to get him in," Shastri remarked.
India will face South Africa in three-match Test series from January 5 at Newlands, Cape Town. The series will be followed by six ODIs and three T20Is.
India Test Squad:
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
Jan 05 - Jan 09, 1st Test – Newlands, Cape Town
Jan 13 - Jan 17, 2nd Test – SuperSport Park, Centurion
Jan 24 - Jan 28, 3rd Test – New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
Feb 01, 1st ODI – Kingsmead, Durban
Feb 04, 2nd ODI – SuperSport Park, Centurion
Feb 07, 3rd ODI – Newlands, Cape Town
Feb 10, 4th ODI – New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
Feb 13, 5th ODI – St George's Park, Port Elizabeth
Feb 16, 6th ODI – SuperSport Park, Centurion
Feb 18, 1st T20I – New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
Feb 21, 2nd T20I – SuperSport Park, Centurion
Feb 24, 3rd T20I – Newlands, Cape Town