South Africa are the underdogs in the upcoming series: Daryll Cullinan
Daryll Cullinan who has seen fair success in India during his stint for the South African cricket knows how difficult a task to get acclimatize to the conditions.
The 48-year-old spoke to TOI in an exclusive interview from Kimberly about the challenges South Africa will be facing during the 72-day tour. Excerpts…
South Africa’s Test record in the last decade has been phenomenal. What are their chances this time?
I can’t see South Africa beat India with their spin attack. I know in recent times, India’s ability to play spin has been a concern. In our time, we beat India with a four-pronged pace attack putting unrelenting pressure from both ends. But this Indian group is quite confident about handling short balls. I would still back the four-pronged pace attack with a spinner doing the holding job. We don’t have proven world class spinner. (Imran) Tahir doesn’t play too much Test cricket as he isn’t good enough in that format. He is quite good in shorter formats because he doesn’t have to deal with the pressure of bowling long spells. Then you have newcomers like Simon Harmer and Dane Piedt. They aren’t going to bowl India out. For that to happen, India needs to play very badly.
Who according to you is the underdog?
Surely, South Africa. They are coming out of winter and haven’t been fresh. AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla are experienced but to arrive in India straight from winters, you need experience. It’s not only about pitch conditions but overall weather conditions. To hit the ground running and confident against spinners, you need experience and I am not sure about the other guys.
Do you think SA can take 20 wickets in India?
It’s got to come from Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel. Steyn, in the recent times, is a very flat starter in terms of wickets. Morkel, in those conditions, has to be very precise with his line and length as he can provide pace to the Indian batsmen. The Indians would love to face Vernon Philander on those wickets. I think he isn’t fit enough to bowl long spells of late. Then, the spinners don’t have a lot of experience. I don’t think they are going to bowl India out.
What are your thoughts on South Africa’s new opening combo?
I don’t think it will be easy for them as India have a decent pace attack now. They should have good Test wickets with something in it for the pacers and turn on the fourth day. If they can knock down two, three wickets with the new ball, it’s going to be a tough task for South Africa to recover. If I’m in the South African side and I see flat tracks, I would be very happy.
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