Chief selector MSK Prasad is hopeful of a good show from India’s five-man pace attack picked for the upcoming series against South Africa. By calling the current attack as one of the best to have toured that country, the former India wicketkeeper believes the variety will augur for Virat Kohli & Co. against the Proteas.
The likes of Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami are expected to lead India’s pace attack against the Proteas while Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ishant Sharma can also make it to the playing eleven depending on the conditions. The selectors have also included Jasprit Bumrah in the squad as a backup bowler while Hardik Pandya could also roll his arms when needed.
Team India will play three Tests, six One-Day Internationals and three T20 Internationals against South Africa who have the likes of Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel, now-fit Dale Steyn in their ranks. But while South Africa’s pace attack is one of the best in the world, Prasad refrained from making any comments on them and focused solely on India.
“I cannot comment on the opposition, but from our perspective, we have one of the best bowling attacks to tour South Africa. There is variety in the attack, armed with the confidence of being the No. 1 side. We may have won at home, but going into the SA series on a winning note is a morale booster. We have a very balanced side,” Prasad said on the sidelines of the Ranji semifinal between Karnataka and Vidarbha at the Eden Gardens on Thursday (December 21).
“You see Umesh and Shami bowl at 140 kmph, but they still swing the ball. We also have Bhuvi who can swing the ball either way. We have included Bumrah as he has the variety. Ishant is there with his experience and Hardik adds that different dimension,” Prasad added. “So there are five different varieties of bowlers that we have picked.”
Prasad also made it clear that he was unfazed by Ajinkya Rahane’s lack of show with the bat in recent times. The right-handed batsman entered the Test series against Sri Lanka low on confidence, managing 99 runs in four Ranji Trophy innings including a couple of ducks. And his poor form continued against the Islanders too. In a series, where the other batsmen feasted upon a weak opposition bowling lineup, Rahane failed to get going.
In five innings, he crossed the two-digit mark just once when he scored ten, as he finished the three-match series with mere 17 runs to his name. However, Prasad, while citing Rahane’s phenomenal overseas record, said he is not worried about the vice-captain’s form.
“Ajinkya is our key player abroad. He has got runs across the world, and we should appreciate that. I am not worried about his form. He is much above these things and has played enough matches to handle the situation,” Prasad argued.
The Test series will get underway from January 5 in Cape Town.
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