Virat Kohli © IANS
Virat Kohli © IANS

India and South Africa are gearing up for the much-awaited three-Test series starting from January 5 at Cape Town. The series will see the likes of Dale Steyn, Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers up against Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane, and more. Ahead of the first Test, Jacques Kallis opened up on the prospect of the series, Steyn’s highly-anticipated comeback, India pacers and Kohli’s batsmanship.

Steyn, eyeing an international comeback after November 2016, is just 5 wickets away from surpassing Shaun Pollock to become South Africa’s highest wicket-taker in Tests. Kallis shared his feelings on Steyn: “It will be a fantastic achievement, he has been a world-class performer for so many years and deserves all the accolades.”

The Cape Town track wouldn’t offer a lot of movement, for pacers, compared to the other South African pitches. Kallis, wary of the fact, realises the importance of going ahead with a spinner who could create chances in the last two days: “It depends on the wickets. I would hesitate going to a Test without a spinner because they do play a role in the last couple of days. You have to look at the conditions and take a call,” added Kallis.

Keshav Maharaj — who picked up a five-for in his last innings — is most likely to be a certain in the playing XI. To add to the Steyn topic, Kallis made a valid point on how threatening Steyn can be: “I think he is fit and raring to go. An angry Steyn is an asset to any team.”

India’s pace battery — Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah — will be on their toes to utilise the conditions, and consolidate their current form. Kallis termed the series as an ‘interesting one’ seeing India’s promising bowling lineup. Nonetheless, they will have to adapt quickly: “They have a talented bowling lineup. The conditions here will suit seamers slightly more than in India. So it would be interesting to see how the bowling attack goes. It will be an interesting series,” Kallis told Hindustan Times.

Lastly, Kallis shed more light on Kohli. Having played with the Indian captain in his early days in Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL, Kallis revealed that he had an idea of Kohli attaining new heights. In addition, Kallis believes Kohli would continue to rise if he remains hungry and fit: “He has become a world-class player. Results have shown that he is a fantastic player. We saw the talent in the early days in RCB when I was there. I had an idea that he would be become a really good player because he had the technique and temperament. It depends on how hungry he is, how fit he stays and how long he wants to play for. He can achieve whatever he wants to as long as he wants it.”