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Ashwin quickest to 300, India win easily, but will they be under-prepared for South Africa?

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Last Updated on 7 years by Charbel Coorey

Ravichandran Ashwin took the eight wickets he needed to become the quickest ever to 300 Test wickets. Virat Kohli scored his fifth double century, and in the process became the most prolific Indian captain in terms of Test hundreds, going past Sunil Gavaskar. Cheteshwar Pujara went past 1,000 Test runs for the calendar year, with an average of over 71.

Nice numbers. All seems well and good in India at the moment.

But is it?

India will soon embark on one of the toughest tours in world cricket – South Africa, and I fear that India will be in for a bit of a shock when they line up for the first Test in Cape Town on January 5. Is a Test series at home to Sri Lanka ideal preparation for what will be Virat Kohli’s biggest test so far as India captain? Will anyone care about this series if India lose in South Africa?

Surely not. Most of us just want this series to be over as it almost seems like a waste of time. It is so one-sided, and even more so considering India thrashed Sri Lanka 9-0 just a few months ago. India just keep throwing punches, and unfortunately Sri Lanka are just not good enough to throw them back.

Looking ahead to India’s tour of South Africa, I have a burning question. Is one tour game in Paarl, where conditions are typically slower than the South African usual, enough? Cape Town, Centurion and Johannesburg, the venues for the three Tests, promise to be fast and pacy, and the Indians could be in for a bit of a shock because of the amount of cricket they have played at home/Asia in 2017.

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South Africa would have seen the first day of the first Test against Sri Lanka last week with interest. There will be movement in South Africa, and at an even faster pace than the Kolkata pitch. And with all due respect to Suranga Lakmal, India will be up against a pace attack that, by popular opinion, is either best in the world or second best behind Australia.

Shikhar Dhawan played as if it was a flat pitch and got bowled comprehensively. KL Rahul was out first ball. Virat Kohli, who has scored a hundred and a double hundred since, scored a duck. Ravichandran Ashwin went wicketless for the match, and has struggled outside of Asia with the ball. India were bowled out for just 172 in the first innings.

So how will India go about rectifying and improving how they play the moving, swinging ball? They can’t improve by thrashing Sri Lanka at home. Tour matches on quick South African pitches would have been much better served.

What might help India is that Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel are all just coming back from injury lay-offs, so they might be a tad rusty. However, South Africa have a chance to get rid of the rust against Zimbabwe on Boxing Day, and pick up form ahead of the big series v India.

It’s all well and good for India to smash records and Sri Lanka, but is it the right preparation for such a massive tour?

I think India could be for a bit of a shock in South Africa, not because of a lack of talent, but due to lack of quality opposition and preparation in the build up.

Agree or disagree? Do leave a comment!

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Charbel Coorey
Charbel Cooreyhttps://cricblog.net
Charbel is the owner & founder of cricblog.net, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. He is also a keen fantasy sports player. Charbel has also had the privilege of interviewing cricketers on the CricBlog TV YouTube channel, including James Neesham, Rassie van der Dussen, Andrew Tye, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat and Saurabh Netravalkar: https://www.youtube.com/@cricblogtv For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

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