Mumbai Bomber Sachin Tendulkar is confident India can rewrite the history books on their tour to South Africa as he feels the Virat Kohli led side are balanced and well prepared, as reported by Hindustan Times.
As Kohli begins his first major assignment as captain away from Indian shores, the Master Blaster emphasised that it is important to ‘stick to basics’ and get big totals. “Virat Kohli will succeed if the team succeeds. Virat should just play his normal game and stick to the basics,” he said.
“The team should rally around him. India can only succeed if they can put up good totals. Runs will matter and not only Virat, but the entire team has to contribute. So, it’s not only about Virat Kohli.”
In the past two years and more, India have been undefeated in Test matches, and Sachin Tendulkar feels that adding balance to this side will only help them. Sachin believes that all-rounder Hardik Pandya will be a big asset to the team. “In my 24 years with the Indian Test team we never had the balance this team has. The man who brings in such versatility is Hardik Pandya,” Tendulkar said.
“A guy who can bowl 17-18 overs and is perfectly capable of scoring runs at No 7 or 8 is an asset. This is going to be Pandya’s biggest series and Virat will be banking on him.”
The master blaster feels that Pandya’s inclusion into the Test side gives India which they lacked previously, “Simply because Pandya can do the job of the fourth seamer, bat like a good middle-order batsman and is a good fielder. For the first time India can afford to play with three genuine seamers.”
“Never before could we think of three pacers and a fourth one to fall back on – not even during Kapil Dev’s time could we enjoy this luxury. At best we would play with three quicks with Manoj Prabhakar being one of them. But this team is just so well balanced.”
In recent matches, India have been caught off guard a few times in the slip cordon. Thanks to multiple dropped catches, it was the point of discussion during the recently concluded Test series against Sri Lanka. Sachin, though feels the slip catchers will be on their game in South Africa.
He said: “Slip catching is extremely decisive, but let me tell you India will be better off on South African wickets where the ball will come at a good pace and height. They can stand back and wait for the ball to come. In India, we can’t do this as the balls come low and we have to stand closer to the wickets.”
Whereas for the South Africans, the 44 year old feels will have their task cut out, given that stalwarts AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn are returning after a lengthy break.He singled out Hashim Amla and De Villiers as the key performers, and believes that the hosts will find it hard to replace the greats of the yesteryear.
“If South Africa have to be successful, then De Villiers and Hashim Amla must score in every match. Du Plessis is the third man in the pecking order, but it’s about De Villiers and Amla.”
“If India can get them out early, then that’s a big job done. De Villiers is the key man for sure. South Africa will now feel the absence of a Kallis, Graeme Smith and Mark Boucher.”