Former India skipper Sourav Ganguly has stated that judging an Indian captain on the basis of his track record in India is never a good idea and it will be a stern test for Virat Kohli in South Africa in the forthcoming three-match Test series, starting on January 5 in Newlands, Cape Town.
Ganguly is keen to see how Kohli manages his resources in South Africa. The Prince of Kolkata also advised Virat to be patient with his bowlers since it won't be easy to take wickets on a regular basis in the Proteas conditions.
Team India have performed exceptionally well under Virat Kohli’s captaincy since 2015, having won 9 consecutive Test series. However, the South Africa tour is widely deemed as the biggest challenge for the 29-year-old Indian captain.
"Winning in India and winning away are two different things but I never say winning in India is easy you still have to win cricket matches. But this is where you judge how good you are,” Ganguly said while speaking to India Today.
"I don't think this tour will test Virat Kohli as a batsman but it will test him as captain. But you have to give him a bit of space also. We've all been there first times. Kohli is human so he will take a bit of time to adjust. He's got to be a bit patient its not going to happen like in India. Your not going to throw it to Ashwin or whoever plays.
"Kohli has got to play a different game and hopefull Ravi (Shastri) will help him with captaincy. Be a bit patient with the spinners, fast bowlers will have to do their job. Kohli has to find a way to pull it back whenever the game gets away from him. And most important is the lengths. Somebody needs to go to his ears and tell him that you need to be absolutely full with the length. Bowlers have to make the batsmen drive through the off-side," he further added.
On the other hand, Ganguly is pretty confident that Kohli will do well as a batsman against the fiery Proteas pace attack, comprising of Dale Steyn, Kagirso Rabada, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander.
"As a batsman he's going back there as a different player. Those 4 hundreds in Australia has changed him. Ofcourse he will deliver. He needs a bit of luck early on those edges not getting to the slips. But once he gets through that 20-25 run on the first innings he's going to be a different player then,” Dada said.
Talking about India’s fast bowling attack, Sourav picked Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar as India's three frontline bowlers for the opening Test. He also singled out Ashwin as the best spin bowler in world cricket right now alongside Nathan Lyon.
"Ashwin is far above the rest, the only one you can compare him with his Nathan Lyon. I don't think Moeen Ali or Keshave Maharaj are in the same league as Ashwin. He's just got to be a bit patient and Virat has to be patient with him. Don't expect Ashwin to get 5 for 50 on Day 1 if India lose the toss. It's not going to happen there. Virat has to give him a role like Shane Warne did it for Australia.
"Virat has to work with his fast bowlers. I think he may go with six batsmen and four specialist bowlers. He's got to make the fast bowlers work hard and Ashwin has to bowl tight from the other end. I'd pick Shami, Ishant and Bhuvneshwar as the fast bowlers. I would be very tempted with Bumrah because he's in terrific form but no warm-up games before the first Test so you don't know. So you go with the tried and tested and pick Bhuvi, who's been as good form as Bumrah," Ganguly concluded.