Former South Africa skipper AB de Villiers believes India’s fate in the upcoming Test series against Australia could be decided on the fitness of their fast-bowlers and how the Virat Kohli-led side perform in the series-opener.
Hopes were high from the current India side when this year began. After thoroughly dominating the last couple of years at home, this was the year which could have truly justified India’s number one ranking in Test. With series against South Africa, England and Australia lined up, good showing in tough overseas conditions would have enhanced India’s reputation.
However, the current team also failed to end India’s recent woes outside the country. They began the year with a 2-1 defeat in South Africa. And the condition only worsened in England with a heavy 4-1 defeat.
A lot was expected from the current team but they too have failed to deliver. Virat Kohli & Co. have already lost in South Africa and England this year and will visit Australia later this year.
A historic win in Australia will surely help the team make amends for the losses in England and South Africa and AB de Villiers believes the fast-bowlers will be instrumental in deciding India’s fate.
“I think if they can keep the fast bowlers fit they have a very good chance. I saw some of the guys were not hundred percent fit (during the England tour),” said De Villiers.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar missed out on the entire five-match Test series against England. Jasprit Bumrah, on the other hand, missed the first two Tests.
De Villiers further admitted that India ‘probably played the better cricket’ during the South Africa tour. He also spoke on the importance of doing well in the first game of an away series.
“They came to South Africa and probably played the better cricket in the series. Lost to England but the first Test was on a knife’s edge which would have changed the whole complexion of the series. They have got to take the opportunity, especially going to Australia. If you slip first Test match there, it becomes a snowball. Actually anywhere in the world, the minute you are playing away from home, the way you start is very important. They slipped in South Africa and England and it snowballed,” said De Villiers
Australia will host India for three T20 Internationals (T20Is) 4 Tests and 3 One-Day Internationals (ODIs) towards the end of this year.
The series will start off with the shortest format, with the first T20I to be played at The Gabba on November 21, 2018.
After the three-match T20I series, the two teams will compete in a four-Test series.
Adelaide opens the Test summer against India on December 6 in a blockbuster Border-Gavaskar Trophy series. The Perth Stadium will host its first Test match when India visit for the second Border-Gavaskar match, before the series moves back to Melbourne and Sydney for the traditional Boxing Day and New Year’s games respectively.
Following the Tests, there will be three ODIs. Sydney Cricket Ground will host the first ODI on January 12. The long tour will conclude with the third ODI at MCG on January 18.