South Africa hit by worst drought, Newlands pitch may lack bounce

Virat Kohli

Captain Virat Kohli and his new wife Anushka Sharma led the way as the India cricket team arrived in Cape Town, South Africa late Thursday (28th Dec). There is also a return for Quinton de Kock, who hurt his hamstring in the Boxing Day test and was unable to keep wicket in Zimbabwe's two innings.

The first of the three Test matches starts at Newlands on Friday. And yes, until and unless the Virat Kohli-led team does well over the next 18 months, when it will be touring above countries, it cannot be termed as the greatest team in recent history. For us it's about being in the present, winning sessions and executing our skills and not looking at the history on what happened in the country that we play at.

"A lot of our players have played here before. Now is our opportunity because of the average age of the group and the amount of cricket we are going to play together", Kohli said.

Kohli said team spirit was the outstanding feature of the touring party.

"There is sense of intelligence and awareness that has crept in in the last four years and that provides the excitement we are talking about".

"If we didn't have that mindset, there would be no point getting on to the flight to come here", Kohli told reporters. A couple of days before the Test match, we will see how to go into the Test match, what are the things we can bring into the Test, regarding strategies, regarding their batsmen. Kohli's men will enter the first Test without playing a single practice game, having opted for training sessions instead of playing the two-day warm-up game that was originally slotted in.

"Yesterday, we did two sessions to get into the Test mode". We can try and prepare the wickets the way we want them.

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"If you're playing a two-day game, there's no room to change the wicket at different times of the day". If you're not there mentally, it does not matter the kind of conditions you are playing in.

The Indian team may not encounter the kind of bounce they are expecting from the Newlands track during the first Test against South Africa on January 5 as the worst drought in many years has made it hard for the groundsmen to prepare a pitch that suits the home team. "We did well in England", Shastri said.

The three Tests will be played between 5th and 28th January with Cape Town, Centurion and Johannesburg being the venues. If you had asked me four years ago I would have said no.

"This team has gained in experience now".

"It's still a test match we played against opposition who obviously didn't have a great game".

"Obviously we would like to play against the top countries but maybe we could play them at home so we can set up the conditions to favour us". "For us, every game is a home game".

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