Rabada Will Challenge Indian Batters; Tourists Should Bat Around Kohli: Jaffer

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New Delhi, Dec 22 (IANS): Former cricketer Wasim Jaffer feels the South African pace bowlers, especially Kagiso Rabada, will challenge India in the three-Test series beginning at SuperSport Park on Boxing Day, adding that the tourists will have to overcome their scoring “problem” early on during the tour to make an impact.

Jaffer, who scored a century in the third Test at Newlands, Cape Town during the 2006/07 tour of South Africa facing the likes of Dale Styen, Makhaya Ntini, Shaun Pollock, Jacques Kallis and Paul Harris, also feels that the home team batting line-up is not the same it used to be, which India could exploit.

“South Africa has a decent fast bowling attack; there is no doubt (about) it. Rabada is one of the best. He is going to challenge the Indian batters. They have sufficient quality. Their pace bowling will definitely challenge India. But their batting is not the same it was before. Nonetheless, it will be a challenging tour for India,” opined Jaffer in an interview to news18.com on Wednesday.

Jaffer said that the first Test will be crucial and Indian bowlers, especially Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami with their experience, should keep the tourists in the game.

“India’s bowlers will keep their team in the game. The Indian fast bowling is very experienced now. Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami have a lot of experience. India has an all-round attack. I have been saying that if India scores 400-plus, it is more likely that it will win matches. Our bowling attack is first class. The challenge is for the batters to put scores on the board. That’s been the problem.

“In 2018, Virat was the only one who got the runs. The other batters need to step up. Now, India’s batting is more balanced in the top six. Rishabh (Pant) can change the game if he bats for one or one-and-a-half hours. There are good players in the team; they have to contribute around Virat,” said Jaffer.

Jaffer also said that India will have to soon get acclimatised to the pace and bounce, as the South African quick traditionally like to “pitch the ball hard” and “hit the deck”.

“They (SA bowlers) always look to pitch the ball hard. That’s how they bowl all the time. You did not find many, apart from Vernon Philander, swing the ball; in recent times of course. They hit the deck hard, just like the Australian fast bowlers. They have pace and they try to get (the) maximum out of the pitch. They are trained to bowl like that in South Africa. It’s always challenging to bat, when the conditions are tough.”

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