Bhuvneshwar Kumar will be the key to India's success, feels Javagal Srinath (Image courtesy: AFP)
Bhuvneshwar Kumar will be the key to India’s success, feels Javagal Srinath (Image courtesy: AFP)

Virat Kohli s India have now won 9 consecutive Test series. It has been over 15 months and they have clung on to the No.1 spot in ICC Test Ranking. But are they ready for the South African challenge? India have never won a Test series in South Africa and Kohli s men haven t played too many games away from the subcontinent. With India s struggles against moving ball apparent in the recent fixtures against Sri Lanka at Kolkata and Dharamsala, the doubts find a base. However, Javagal Srinath believes this is India s best chance to win in the Rainbow country.

India have a potent pace line-up for this series. Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah make the pace line-up. Srinath vouched for Bhuvi leading the pacer unit.

This is the best fast bowling combination in India at the moment. I go by what I ve seen in the last one-and-a-half years. I strongly feel Bhuvneshwar (Kumar) will be the strike bowler or at least he should be treated like one. He should be used economically and in short spells. Over the past few months, he has been outstanding, Srinath told Cricbuzz.

Speaking further on Bhuvi s strengths, Srinath added, Bhuvneshwar swings the ball both ways and at (an) alarming pace. With the kind of pace he gets, he can be a great asset for the team on South African wickets which usually have bounce and carry.

Red Kookaburra ball

Srinath highlighted the difference between bowling with the red Kookaburra ball in comparison to the white one and why it is important to adapt quickly.

Shikhar Dhawan fit for 1st Test against South Africa; Ravindra Jadeja down with viral infection
Shikhar Dhawan fit for 1st Test against South Africa; Ravindra Jadeja down with viral infection

The bowlers are champions with the white Kookaburra ball, but the red ball is very different. They have to get used to it as soon as possible. Winning these Test matches will depend a lot on how quickly they get used to the ball and how well they read local conditions. There has to be a minor adjustment in the way they pitch the ball, he said.

The IPL boon

Srinath has an exceptional record against South Africa. He has 64 wickets from 13 Tests at just over 24. 43 of these wickets have come in South Africa at 25. Srinath also enjoyed a great run in the 2003 World Cup where India ended as runners-up. It was pressure that got better of India in the final at Johannesburg. Srinath believes IPL has helped players in handling pressure better.

When it comes to handling pressure, I think, the IPL has fast-tracked players. In the IPL, they always play under pressure and players tend to learn more when under pressure. In that sense, I think they are all experts in handling pressure, said the pacer turned match referee.

The first Test between India and South Africa will start at Newlands, Cape Town from Friday.