Zee Media Bureau/Chaitan Papnai
New Delhi: It is probably for the very first time that the Indian cricket team is travelling overseas for such a high profile series without their experienced campaigners. It would be a herculean task for India to give South Africa, the world’s top ranked Test team, a run for their money in the two-match Test series.
The current Indian Test squad is relatively the most inexperienced one to visit outside the subcontinent in a long time. It is difficult to even imagine a Test team without batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar, who had been the core member of Indian team for more than two decades.
Many of the arm-chair critics are now seeing this series as the start of post-Tendulkar era. For MS Dhoni, arguably the most successful skipper in the history of Indian cricket, it would be a new challenge to shape up the future of Indian cricket from here on.
The comeback of Zaheer Khan in the Test fold and scintillating form of Indian batsmen is certainly a sign of relief for Dhoni, but to face a fearsome pace attack in swift and bouncy tracks of South Africa would be an acid test for Team India.
The first three ODIs ahead of the Test series would certainly help Indian team to adapt to the alien conditions as Dhoni was quoted saying in a conference before the team’s departure to South Africa, “It is good to start with ODIs as the batsmen can play their shots, express themselves and carry it to the Tests.” But as they say ‘Test cricket is altogether a different ball game’, India have to make sure that they change their tactics while playing in whites.
If temperament and application would be the key for Indian batsmen then bowling on proper channels would be bowlers’ weapon to trouble the robust South African batting line up.