Former India fast bowler Javagal Srinath who is been a part of three unsuccessful tours in South Africa, is confident India can win the upcoming series in the Rainbow Nation. He says that India should draw inspiration from its maiden Test win against the hosts at Johannesburg in 2006-07.
“We won a Test there and we have made a huge improvement. My gut feeling is we should be able to win this one," he declared.
Srinath maintained that India who traditionally doesn't have a track record of much success playing abroad, is well equipped this time around to reverse its fortunes.
“I don"t buy the logic that we can"t play well abroad. The Indian team has been playing pretty well in all conditions for the last three-four years," Srinath told a leading newspaper.
India is looking to consolidate its No. 1 Test ranking when it takes on South Africa in the three-match Test series starting at Centurion on Dec 16. Srinath, who had taken a total of 43 wickets in 8 tests against the home-side, lauds the challenging quality of the pitches in the African nation.
“The wickets there offer a great balance between the bowling and batting. It is a fair ground to test anybody"s capabilities."
He says while there has been lots of hype over the much-touted South African new-ball pair of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, India too has the kind of pace battery to unsettle the Proteas batsmen. After all, India paceman S Sreesanth took the most number of wickets of the last Test series in South Africa with 18 scalps at a staggering average of 21.94, while Zaheer Khan also performed impressively taking 13 wickets and conceding just 30.38 runs per wicket.
“It is tit for tat. In Zaheer, S Sreesanth and Ishant Sharma, we have three good fast bowlers who can deliver. Steyn is the world"s No 1 bowler and he is playing to his strengths when he is bowling in South Africa. We have a bit of an advantage in swing and movement and they have pace and bounce. So we are on equal terms. It"s not the bowling, it"s the batsmen who will decide the series."
Srinath also had some key advice for India's line-up of speedsters.
“The swing bowlers will need to pitch it up and if you like to hit the deck, then you hit back of the length. Basically, the length will depend on the footwork of the batsman; where he is standing, whether he is standing too deep or outside the crease," Srinath said.
India have lost all four Test series in South Africa since the inaugural four-Test series in the 1992-93 season which South Africa won 1-0. Srinath said India didn"t need to delve on what happened in the older tours. For Srinath, the lessons to be learnt are in the 2006-07 series.