All the talk before the big South Africa-India series has been how India would struggle to cope with the seaming conditions in South Africa, having played most of their cricket in home conditions for the past 18 months.
And why not? Indians have struggled on their visits to South Africa for the past 25 years, struggling to script even a single series win.
But things have changed over the past few years, Virat Kohli, who is now at the helm of Indian cricket has instilled a new, fearless attitude in the Indian team. Leading by example, Virat Kohli wants India to be a superpower in World cricket, something that they can achieve only with Test wins in overseas conditions.
The talk about South Africa dishing out a ‘green top’ would have fazed an Indian team a few years ago, but this Indian setup is up for the challenge, or at least that’s what the talk suggests.
But can India really play on the fast, pacy decks of South Africa?
Vernon Philander feels that India will find things very difficult in South Africa, as they have had no match practice in these conditions, and that the pitch is going to be extremely different from what India have been playing on in the past few years.
While Virat would want to send across the message that India are up for the task, even if a seaming deck is dished out, deep down he would be worried about India not having had enough practice under such conditions and on such wickets before such an important tour.
However, there is the case of the draught in Cape Town, which has been making life difficult for local curator Evan Flint, as the South African team management want a seaming track to be prepared.
Reports suggest that the Centurion curator, Bryan Bloy, has flown into Cape Town to help Evan Flint in preparing a green top for tomorrow’s first test.
“The boys don’t just want a fast wicket, they also want seam movement. The idea is to work on South Africa’s strength and India’s weakness. Bloy was flown in to assist Flint in his preparations. I would like to believe this is how modern-day cricket works with home teams playing to their strength. Remember the 2015 series between these two teams in India?” a CSA official told CricketNext.