Allan Donald

Exclusive: The goals that Kohli sets for himself is enormous: Allan Donald

[caption id="attachment_60995" align="alignnone" width="580"]DSC08044 Former South African cricketer Allan Donald feels the series between India and South Africa will be a close one. Image Source: Xtra Time[/caption]

Debasis Sen, Cape Town: Former South African legend Allan Donald reckon the forthcoming series between India and South Africa which gets underway here at the Newlands Stadium from Friday will be a closely contested one. Donald who is also known as the White Lightning because of his pace feel both the teams has a decent bowling attack. According to the former South African fast bowler, Proteas team management should throw in a fit again Dale Steyn in the series against India while he also reckons the wickets here will be tailor made for Virat Kohli to score runs. In an exclusive interview to xtratime.in at the practice areas of the Newlands Stadium, Donald shared his thoughts about the series. Here are the excerpts:

The series is touted as a fiercely contested one. What is your take?

Well I have said it a couple of times now, it is going to be a closely fought series. You got to think about where India has come from at the back of their tremendous form. There are a side who are up at the moment in my point of view in test cricket, in fact in all formats of the game very well led by Virat Kohli. Well a lot of the times when India has toured South Africa you would expect that the hosts will be all over them. I am expecting South Africa to do exactly that. I think it’s going to be a wonderful series, a lot closer than most people think. The balance of the two sides with two quality bowling attacks. This is going to be a humdinger of a test series.

India is yet to win a series here. Do you this team under Virat can create history by winning a series for the first time in South Africa?

No doubt. I want to go back to a point that Ravi Shastri made a comment in the press conference the other day. He said very bluntly they are well aware of what they can expect here in South Africa.  The Indians got to adjust to South African conditions and treat them as three home games where they shifted their thinking by taking on the game very aggressively. So they are not going to take a backward step and will take on the Proteas head on. That’s why I feel that the statement that Ravi made the other day was a good one and they have obviously discuused this. They wanted to win a series away from home and that’s why I think this series will be a lot closer.

Do you think the Proteas have the most potent bowling line up at the moment?

It’s a great bowling attack and ever so the inclusion of Morris makes it even more interesting as to who will make the playing XI. The four that I have been looking for will be Steyn, Morkel, Philander and Rabada will get the nod. I think Morris is not quite there. He’s had a groin injury. May be the team management will look into that factor.

Proteas Coach Otis Gibson doesn’t want to rush in with Steyn who is coming back after a long break due to injury. What is your take?

Well I watched Steyn this afternoon. All I can say he bowled like a wind. It looks like he has been bowling for last two test matches. He looks in great form. He looks fit and strong. Well you know it’s a fine balance as he would have liked to play against Zimbabwe but he was obviously ill (virus) and so if the team management wants to throw him in it is pretty much now. There is not much test matches apart from these three tests and the series against Australia coming up. I would honestly let Dale Steyn loosen and play him come the 5th of Jan.

Talking about the Indian bowling they have done really well in the last couple of years. What is your take on the Indian bowling?

I think it’s a wonderful bowling attack and I really do. I think if there is bowler to bowler comparison the Indians may not be up the pace as the Proteas bowlers. Umesh Yadav is quick bowler who can clock 145km/hr while Md Shami is a fantastic bowler preferred over Ishant Sharma. I think it’s a brilliant bowling attack. Bhuvneshwar Kumar to me will be matching up versus Philander if they leave some grass on the wicket. He can swing the ball both ways, nip off the wicket. Look I think both sides has a decent bowling attack.

What would be your advice to the Indian bowlers on these wickets?

Well you always come to Southern Hemisphere and the way you play against South Africa and Australia you definitely got to adjust to the length. You got to have to bowl a lot fuller. This venue here traditionally at the start of Day 1 is lot slow compared to other venues. It flattens out quickly but the other two venues – i.e., Centurion and Jo’Burg are the quickest wickets in South Africa. There you’ll have to be fuller and the ball swings up there in Wanderers and Super Sport Park, so you gonna have to be adjusting your lengths. You can’t be too short here but also if you are too loose you gonna be fetching leather all day. Patience will be the key here.

Virat Kohli has been in phenomenal form. What impresses you the most about Virat?

Well you there is so much talks about Virat Kohli . I just enjoy his passion for the game and to lead the team. There are lot of batsman that work hard but I have never seen a guy who leaves so much on the training ground. He is a great example for young kids about how hard he works. I think the goals he sets for himself are enormous. He gets easily agitated when he hasn’t had a good nets but my word he is a man with a passion. He wears his heart in his sleeves. For me he is the best player in world right now and it has been a pleasure for me to be in the same dressing room.

Do you see him (Virat) scoring huge runs in the series?

I think the pitches are tailor made for him. Especially on wickets in Centurion and Jo’burg he can score runs quickly where the outfields are lightning fast. So if you get yourself in you can score big runs.  The top six batters in the Indian team are all class acts. Rohit Sharma’s batting, probably the best I have ever seen him bat.

Having bowled against Sachin and now watching Virat bat, how do you compare the two batsmen?

They are differently obviously. Virat is a guy who likes to take the game on. He is a great stroke maker while Sachin will take his time a little bit. But when he (Sachin) is in he is such a hard man to stop. They have two different techniques obviously.  I said a couple of years ago that if there is one player that would probably get the closest to Tendulkar’s records is Virat. He is going to play for a long time and I just think he is a world class player.

Who according to you are the top three fast bowlers in world cricket at the moment?

Well right now I would say Mitchell Starc, It’s a tough question that actually. You gotta have to go with Starc, Hazzlewood, Well you put me on a spot here (laughs). I would just guess and say Morne Morkel, how was that.

Lastly your predictions for the series

I still feel South Africa are the favourites to win especially in their backyard. But I would think this Indian team brings a lot more to the table.
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