Rahul Dravid scored his maiden Test hundred in South Africa © Getty Images
Rahul Dravid scored his maiden Test hundred in South Africa © Getty Images

Rahul Dravid believes that the Virat Kohli-led Indian side can win the Test series in South Africa. India, who begin their South Africa tour on January 5, are yet to win a Test series in that country. India, the No. 1 Test side, have now won 9 Test series in a row equalling England and Australia’s record. They will just play a solitary warm-up game ahead of the first Test at Cape Town.

On India’s chances

“I think we have a great chance this time looking at the depth of the current side,” Dravid told PTI on Thursday. “We have got some quality quicks, we have the opportunity of playing the all-rounder [Hardik Pandya] if we need to. We have got quality spinners in [Ravindra] Jadeja and [Ravichandran] Ashwin. What also excites me is that all our batsmen have been to South Africa before and they have the experience of 40-50 Tests.

“Having said that, you do need a bit of luck in those conditions, bit of rub of the green. If we get that, I am very confident about our chances.”

On scheduling

Since the Champions Trophy in June, India have been playing non-stop cricket. Kohli has complained of the same. India did not have enough time to prepare against South Africa and had therefore opted for green tracks during the home series against Sri Lanka. Kohli will not play in the ODIs and T20Is against Sri Lanka to remain fresh for South Africa. The Sri Lanka series will end December 24.

“Some years are tough (schedule-wise) for the team and some are not. There is a lot of pressure on players but that is same for all teams. But it will be nice if we can balance the schedule though it is not an easy job,” Dravid added.

What separates Virat Kohli?

Kohli is now India’s second-highest century-maker and he recently surpassed Dravid to that distinction. He is now only behind Sachin Tendulkar, the only man to register 100 international centuries. Dravid showered praises on the Indian captain.

“The intensity that he brings on the field to inspire his teammates is what stands out for me,” Dravid said.

No perturbed by Under-19 results

Dravid is the coach of the India Under-19s and India A. The U-19 side had a disastrous Asia Cup last month but the coach remains hopeful for the World Cup starting in New Zealand from January 13: ”At this level you are not looking at the results. They are young kids and sometimes you expect the results to not go your way. The U-19 level is all about giving opportunities to as many players as possible. That was the process we followed in the Asia Cup. I don’t stress too much on results. We are looking forward to the World Cup now and the three-week camp ahead of that starts in Bengaluru tomorrow.”

On Prithvi Shaw

Prithvi Shaw will be leading the Indian Under-19 side in the World Cup © Getty Images
Prithvi Shaw will be leading the Indian Under-19 side in the World Cup © Getty Images

Prithvi Shaw, who has been appointed the captain of India Under-19 side, did not play in the Asia Cup as he was playing the Ranji Trophy. It was a collective decision. Shaw, now 18, has been a star in the domestic circuits with 3 centuries this season.

“We took a decision, a right decision that the boys who are playing Ranji Trophy should be allowed to play that. With U-19, what we are trying to move the players from junior level to the Ranji level and then hopefully the Indian team,” said Dravid.

Is Prithvi Shaw ready for an India cap?

Prithvi has been hailed as a teen prodigy and there is a buzz that he is good enough to be drafted in the senior team. However, Dravid did not want to comment on this aspect: ”I don’t want to make that moment . He is a good player, he has started his season well but selectors will take a call on his future.”