Pujara banks on seamers as India look for first series win in South Africa

Cheteshwar Pujara (third from right) with head coach Rahul Dravid and other players during a practice session on Saturday. (BCCI Twitter)
Cheteshwar Pujara (third from right) with head coach Rahul Dravid and other players during a practice session on Saturday. (BCCI Twitter)

India are fresh from home success against New Zealand, while South Africa have not played red ball cricket since June



By Reuters

Published: Sat 18 Dec 2021, 7:18 PM

India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara says they are confident of claiming a historic first Test series win in South Africa, led by their potent fast bowling attack on the lively Highveld wickets where the first two of three Tests will be played.

India are fresh from home success against New Zealand, while South Africa have not played red ball cricket since June ahead of the first Test that starts in Pretoria on Dec. 26.

“We have played a couple of Tests in India, so most of the guys are in touch,” Pujara told the Board of Control for Cricket in India on Saturday.

“There is enough time for us to prepare and the guys are really looking forward to these Tests. It is the best chance for us to finally win a series in South Africa.”

Pujara believes the growing influence of India’s fast bowling attack, which has led to success overseas in the recent past, gives them confidence they can match the home side on what are usually seamer-friendly wickets in South Africa.

“Our fast bowlers have been the difference between the sides overall when we have played abroad. If you look at the Australia and England series, we have done exceptionally well as a bowling unit,” he said.

“Our fast bowlers are our strength (in South Africa) and I hope they can utilise the conditions and give us 20 wickets in each Test match.”

South Africa may be undercooked, with a number of their leading players having not featured in first class cricket since their series win in West Indies in June, but Pujara says India must concentrate on what they can do well and not think about the opposition’s troubles.

“We would not think too much about whether we have the upper hand or not. We will try and stick to our game-plan and our processes, and the things we need to do to be successful in South Africa.”


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