Former India batsman Lalchand Rajput believes the pace bowling sensation from South Africa Kagiso Rabada can pose a threat apart from Vernon Philander and Dale Steyn before Virat Kohli-led side in the impending three-match Test series which will be beginning from January 5
“I feel [Kagiso] Rabada will test the Indian batsmen along with Philander and (Morne) Morkel,” Rajput was quoted as saying by mi-day.
In 2013-14, Steyn and Philander bagged ten wickets each, but the batting department of the visiting side is more consolidated this time around which includes the services of Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara at the top alongside Kohli.
However, in India, Rabada claimed just two wickets in five innings of three Test matches at the unimpressive of 55.50; however, it would be Rabada’s maiden stint on the home soil against ICC’s ranked number one Test side.
Moreover, Rajput remarked Rabada has bowled well on the placid pitches in India and back home where the surfaces are traditionally helping the bowlers the former believes the right-arm speedster would be intimidating.
“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,” Rabada maintained.
On the other side, Rajput reckons the 34-year-old injury-marred Dale Steyn, who is making the international return after 13 months could take his time to return to his best following the shoulder reconstruction.
“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,” Rajput added.
Owing to the burgeoning success in the traditional format, Rabada has claimed 73 scalps in 14 Test fixtures which were simultaneously comprised of the five latest completed series in the longer version of the game.
In overall 23 Test fixtures, Rabada collected 105 wickets while bowling in 41 innings which saw his bowling average of 22.29.
Team India is confident with Kohli revealing the lads are ready to deliver in the alien conditions after a successive home run.
Concluding, Rajput, who believes the selection of shots, would be important in Africa. He was the part of the India management as a manager when the Men in Blue lifted the maiden T20 World Cup under the leadership of Mahendra Singh Dhoni in 2007.
“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,” Rajput further added.
Pertinently, the batsmen have been enjoying the stay at the crease owing to rich form.
Rajput was appointed as Afghanistan coach in June 2016 is further the promoter of the five-bowler ploy in the overseas conditions while reckoning the visitors should look out to tackle the searing pace of the Johannesburg-born Rabada.
“I would go with four bowlers and a bowling all-rounder in Hardik Pandya. I would have three medium pacers, a spinner, and Pandya,” Rajput concluded.
Rabada, who has now become a prominent face of South Africa at such a young age, went on to claimed seven five-wicket hauls while donning the coveted white jersey.
The bilateral series in the African continent is further comprised of six One-day Internationals and three Twenty20 Internationals.