January 20, 2018

South Africa get Morris back from injury for India test

01 January 2018, 05:00 | Rodolfo Wallace

Virat Kohli celebrates after scoring his Test-best knock of 243 run

Virat Kohli

The Indian team may not encounter the kind of bounce they are expecting from the Newlands track during the first Test against South Africa on January 5 as the worst drought in many years has made it hard for the groundsmen to prepare a pitch that suits the home team.

Streak said if Zimbabwe were to play more tests, they might have to settle for games against the likes of newcomers Afghanistan and Ireland.

"Sindhu has achieved a lot over the years and I dare Virat Kohli would be struggling", the former India cricket captain said.

While Rahane and Pujara may be high-quality players - in the same way that Dean Elgar and Hashim Amla are for South Africa - no player on either side can match the aura created by Kohli and De Villiers, whose thrilling stroke play can change the course of a match. "The tour of South Africa will be a test for Kohli", Bedi added.

The search for high-quality practice time in order to acclimatise to South African conditions was behind India's decision to cancel their warm-up match ahead of the three-Test series.

Kohli had a great 2017, both as captain and batsman, and will be hoping to continue the momentum into 2018 with the Proteas posing the first test of the year.

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"There's no point in wasting two days, guys going in and scoring quick fifties", said Kohli.

"We know the general conditions in South Africa, so we are preparing according to that". We are not in that frame of mind. Practice sessions are in our control - the way we want to run them.

"You want to go back and try to do what we couldn't do the last time around". That's something that we did last time as well.

That may seem like big talk considering India have not played outside the subcontinent or West Indies since 2015, when they toured Australia. We'd rather have them do two sessions like today, get into the Test match zone, test ourselves.

"But right now, the kind of hunger we have in the group, everyone wants an opportunity and I think that's a very exciting thing". Every game is a home game. You are never sure of whether you are going to get quality practice games or not.

"Obviously we would like to play against the top countries but maybe we could play them at home so we can set up the conditions to favour us". Come tomorrow, we have conditions that we want. "If you're in a good space in the head after practice sessions, that's good enough as well".

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