Having lost just one Test in 2017, two Tests since January 2015 and last conceding a Test series way back in 2014, the Indian cricket team has reasons to be confident ahead of their series against South Africa which begins on Friday. However, South African fast bowler Vernon Philander has said that India’s strong form in the format (the majority of which is because of their recent home record) will matter little owing to the different conditions in South Africa.
India last hosted South Africa in 2015, in a series which the home side ended up winning 3-0. Adding weight to this tour, however, is the statistic that India has never won a series in South Africa. In an interview with sport24, Philander said, “They have played most of their games at home so it will be interesting to see how they go over here in South Africa. It’s a total different ball game over here in South Africa so we’ll have to wait and see. We want to play our best cricket. 2015 was quite a different one going there and losing to them, but we want to make sure that we deliver at home on our own soil.”
The fast bowler also underlined the importance for his team to not play against reputations, and in particular, against the reputation of in-form Indian captain Virat Kohli. “We are going to play bat and ball, not any names,” he said. “We are going to have to have to get Virat out, as we do nine or 10 other Indian batters as well. We’ve put our prize on bowling them out twice and not focusing on who we are bowling against.”
The first Test gets underway at Newlands, Cape Town on Friday, 5th January.