India and SA raring to go

Number one takes on number two in a Test series that is set to get 2018 off to a bright start as South Africa host India.

India know what to expect when they arrive in South Africa, friendly crowds, sunny days, green pitches and venomous fast bowling.

Skipper Virat Kohli feels that his team have prepared to face the pace gauntlet as best they can and was confident as the team departed India on Friday.

Kohli said: “Of course, we haven’t played in conditions, apart from the Champions Trophy, where we also did really well. We haven’t really played in conditions consistently, outside of India.

“Sri Lanka was very similar to our conditions, it is in a way too but we are talking about a whole different prospect here, which we understand as a team, we are looking forward to it.

“Every tour is a chance, if you look at it, teams that have gone to South Africa in the past, you are talking about some of the biggest names in Indian cricket, it was not like that was a chance, you need to play really good cricket for a long period of time to win series aboard and that’s something that we are pretty excited about.

“We want to go to South Africa and express ourselves, the most important thing, that we are enjoying each and others company, that what exactly what we are looking to do.”

Kohli feels that India do not need to prove anything to anyone on their upcoming tours of South Africa, England and Australia.

He added: “We are not wanting to prove anything to anyone, our duty is to go out there, give our 100 percent for the country, and get the results that we want to. Sometimes we’ll get it, sometimes we won’t, it happens at home, it will happen away, as well.

“We need to be realistic with what we are doing, it’s the only way we’ll be able to stay in the present and execute the things, we want to.

“We are just going out there to play cricket, it does not matter, whether we are in South Africa, England, Australia or India.”

South Africa paceman Morne Morkel meanwhile feels that endurance will be the key for the home side as they seek twenty wickets against a quality India batting lineup.

Morkel said after he helped demolish Zimbabwe inside two days in Port Elizabeth: “It’s going to be about that last session in the day when the ball is soft and conditions are tough.

“Majority of the runs in Test cricket are scored after tea time. So for us, it’s going to be if we have enough petrol in the tank to knock India over at the back end of the day.”

The paceman was not one to issue any threats to India and feels it best to focus on doing the basics correctly when they face the number one Test side in January.

Morkel commented: “For me, there is no personal sort of message, for us it’s important not to get involved in those sorts of things.

“If we are strong and we are fit and we get the results in the wickets column, it will make nice reading in the papers.

“In the past, the build-up has always been great, the talk of the wickets, the talk of the bounce, we do have a slight advantage, but we still need to land the ball in the right areas, still need to bowl with intensity.”

The first Test gets underway on January 5 at Newlands in Cape Town.