Indian Cricket Team –led by Virat Kohli touched down the rainbow country on Friday to play a full series, including three Tests, six ODIs and three T20Is, and looking to give a hard fight to the hosts, as the Men in Blue are seen on an equal balance with South Africa for the first time.
In the Indian squad for South African series, there are three batsmen - Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli, and Rohit Sharma - among those six batters who scored 1000-plus runs in both Tests (Besides Sharma) and ODI in the calendar year of 2017, which makes their batting attack extra potent.
After seeing India’s recent sizzling performance, Indian fans’ expectations are high from Kohli and his Team, and even in the current Team, there is enough firepower in both batting and bowling department to fulfill the wish of millions of people in the country to register their maiden Test victory in South Africa.
Now, we talk about the South African side, there are all eyes will be on Dale Steyn, who will make his return to the international arena after a gap of almost one year, and another comeback man Vernon Philander, as they have claimed 10 wickets each during India's last visit in 2013-14.
But, former India coach Lalchand Rajput is feeling that there is someone else who will trouble the Indian batter and who is none other than –Kagiso Rabada.
Speaking to Mid-Day, Rajput said, “Rabada is a very matured bowler now. Even in India (during the 2015-16 series), he bowled really well on flat wickets. On helpful pitches, he will be dangerous. A lot of people are saying that Steyn will be dangerous, but he is making a comeback after a long injury lay off. He has to get his rhythm right. I feel Rabada (aged 22) will test the Indian batsmen along with Philander and (Morne) Morkel.”
Rajput went to further added that the shot selection will be a key for the Indian batsmen to succeed on bouncy pitches in the South African country.
He further stated, “There has to be a little bit of adjustment. On a bouncy wicket, you have got to play your shots and not get bogged down by just blocking. Back foot shots will be important. If we can get runs off the back foot, then the South African bowling will be really tested. I don't think they will bowl too full, so, the cut and pull shot will be crucial.”
As the first Test will go underway on 5 January in Cape Town, former India coach advised a five-bowler strategy to trouble the South Africans at their soil. Rajput concluded by saying, “I would go with four bowlers and a bowling all-rounder in Hardik Pandya. I would have three medium pacers, a spinner and Pandya. So, five bowlers, five batsmen and a wicketkeeper this would be my strategy.”