Durban, Dec 25: Former captain Sunil Gavaskar slammed critics who said Indian batsmen "are inept in playing fast bowling" and lauded the youngsters for doing so well in the first Test against South Africa in Johannesburg.
Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara hit centuries in the drawn epic Test at Wanderers which concluded on Sunday (December 22). Kohli fell four runs short of completing twin tons in the match. The right-hander scored 119 and 96.
Speaking to the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) official website, Gavaskar said, "Indians have never been scared of facing fast bowling."
"The young Indian batting lineup scored 701 runs in the first Test against the attack comprising Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander and Jaques Kallis. But the false notion of their vulnerability against the quickies will unfortunately remain because it suits some to always make Indian cricket look bad," Gavaskar said.
"The way the Indian batsmen handled the short ball well forced South Africa to change their bowling tactics. The Proteas pacers got carried away by what they saw in the ODIs and bowled short early on. But the Test wicket was not as quick as those in the one-dayers and also, there's a vast difference between how the white and the red ball behaves," he added.
Gavaskar said he was impressed with the way the Indian batsmen left the balls outsite off-stump.
He said Pujara and Kohli form a perfect No. 3 and 4 combination for India in Tests.
"Pujara and Virat form a perfect No. 3 and 4 combination for India - Pujara is ice to Virat's fire. The best thing is that the two enjoy each other's company in the middle," he said while praising the duo.
The second and final Test of the series starts tomorrow in Durban.