Lance Klusener believes Hardik Pandya will hold the key to India's success in South Africa © AFP
Lance Klusener believes Hardik Pandya will hold the key to India’s success in South Africa © AFP

Lance Klusener on his day could be lethal. He is regarded amongst the finest all-rounders in limited-overs cricket. Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya is not too different when it comes to the playing role. Pandya can score at brisk pace and consistently clock in excess of 140 kph with the ball. Pandya has impressed Klusener and the latter believes he could be crucial to India’s chances in the upcoming Test series against South Africa.

“An allrounder of the quality of Pandya gives India the edge both with the bat and ball. He is an exciting talent who provides balance to the Indian unit. Pandya -a medium-pacer who comes to bat lower down the order – provides skipper Virat Kohli with a lot of options with team combination,” Klusener told The Times of India.

Pandya, in 2017, became only the second Indian after Kapil Dev (1986) to bag the double of 500 runs and 30 wickets in ODIs. Tagged as a ODI specialist due to his vulnerability against the short ball, he proved the doubters wrong by impressing in his maiden Test series where he also slammed his first First-Class hundred. Pandya averaged 59.33 with the bat in the 3 Tests and his strike rate read 108. He also got 4 wickets with the ball at 23.75.

India vs South Africa 2017-18: Murali Vijay determined to play his A game
India vs South Africa 2017-18: Murali Vijay determined to play his A game

“I expect the South African bowlers to use the short ball against him. But if he survives those initial moments and gets his eye in, then Pandya could be lethal,” Klusener added.

Kohli key to India’s win

Klusener, now Zimbabwe’s batting coach, pointed out that Kohli will have to score runs to give India a chance to win.

“If India aim to win this series then Kohli will have to score. He would be tested and it gives our bowlers a chance to know how good they are when they bowl to one of the best batters in the world currently,” he said.

Bowling attacks

Klusener rates the South African bowling attack better than the visiting Indians but mentions that there is little to separate.

“Both India and South Africa have full strength sides to choose from. There is little to separate the two teams but I reckon South Africa will enjoy a slight edge in the pace bowling department as the likes of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander are well-versed with the conditions. On the other hand, India have a well-rounded attack with terrific spin bowling options such as R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja to choose from,” he added.

The first Test between India and South Africa starts at Cape Town on Friday.