Have a good chance in SA: Dravid

Rahul Dravid

New Delhi: Virat Kohli’s current form and the experience of majority of the players in the squad would help India do well in their upcoming tour of South Africa, feels former India captain Rahul Dravid.

Describing Kohli’s current form as “incredible”, the India under-19 and India A coach wondered how the India captain was able to maintain such high standards in all forms of the game.

“It is not just about playing Test cricket. His batting reaches great heights even in ODIs and T20 Internationals. He is like a role model for youngsters. I always tell my under-19 boys that they should watch Kohli bat and try to match his level of consistency,” Dravid said during a promotional here on Thursday.

“I do not like comparing people but he is one of the best batsmen in the world in all three formats of the game. The intensity he brings on the field is also remarkable,” he added.

On the tour of South Africa, Dravid said it would once again be tough but the Indians have the experience and skill to play in all conditions.

“South Africa is going to be a tough challenge for sure, but I feel this team has what it takes to win. They have been performing really well at home and there is no reason to believe they won’t repeat the show in South Africa… They have a good chance,” he said.

“If you see the performance of the current India team over the last one and a half years, you will see they have done exceptionally well against some tough oppositions.

“May be those performances were at home but they were all very good. In the squad selected for South Africa, most of the players have been part of the team, who played in South Africa and Australia before. They also have the experience of playing 40-50 Test matches. It counts…

“So, I really feel we are set up for what, hopefully, will be a successful away series for India. If we have a bit of luck, I think we have the team to do well overseas,” Dravid said.  

On Wednesday, India’s top order batsman Cheteshwar Pujara spoke in a similar tone pointing out the number of players in the team, who had earlier played in South Africa.

Explaining India’s chances, Pujara had said while the Indian bowling has great strength, the Indian batsmen are capable of playing good attacks on foreign soil. He felt the South Africa batting strength is not what it used to be previously.  
Dravid, who also batted at the No.3 position, said Pujara had done really well for himself and the team.

“He is a fine player and in overseas tours, a lot depends on the top-order batsmen. It all depends on the start a team gets. So, Pujara has a very important role to play,” he said.

It is not because of the batsmen that the Indians have a chance to end the tour on a high, Dravid said. In his opinion, Kohli would carry a balanced bowling side, which include good pacers, quality all-rounders and top-class spinners like Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.

Asked his opinion on the issue of Indian team playing too much cricket, Dravid said: “Everyone has picked up their international calendar but it never hurts to have the series spaced out at much as possible. It is always good to give some sort of space to the cricketers.”


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