Lalchand Rajput was India's manager when they lifted the inaugural World T20 in South Africa    CricketCountry
Lalchand Rajput was India’s manager when they lifted the inaugural World T20 in South Africa CricketCountry

Lalchand Rajput has happy memories of South Africa. He was the Team India manager when the side lifted the inaugural World T20 at Johannesburg. The former Indian cricketer predicts that Virat Kohli‘s side will win 2-1 in South Africa next month. India, in their 6 attempts, are yet to win a Test series in South Africa.

Rajput, who was the head coach of Afghanistan and now coaches Assam, hailed Kohli’s aggression and the side’s attitude to win at all cost.

“The way the Indian team is playing, they are playing tough cricket. With Virat Kohli being the leader, the aggression which he shows, seems to be imbibed in other players too and they want to win at any cost. They want to crush the opponents,” the 56-year-old told PTI. “This is the team that would do wonders and I am hopeful that they will do really well in South Africa.”

India’s bowling

Bowling has been one of India’s perennial weaknesses in overseas tours. Rajput believes that the current crop of bowlers are capable of picking 20 South African wickets.

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“To win a Test match, we need to take 20 wickets. We have the bowlers who can take 20 (South African) wickets. Bhuvneswar Kumar is in peak form, Umesh Yadav has done exceptionally well, (Mohammad) Shami, after injury, is bowling superbly. If they get a little bit of help from the wickets then these bowlers are dangerous,” said Rajput.

Team composition

“Because if you have to take 20 wickets, you have got to have five bowlers, it might be three medium-pacers, an all-rounder and one spinner or it can be two medium-pacers, an all-rounder and two spinners, depending on the pitch conditions,” explained Rajput.

Ajinkya Rahane’s struggles

Vice-captain Rahane holds the key for India’s batting as he has been the side’s most consistent batter overseas. However, Rahane managed only 17 runs from 5 innings in the recently concluded Test series against Sri Lanka. He also bagged two ducks for Mumbai last month. Rajput backed his fellow Mumbaikar.

“For any batsman, who has done so well on foreign soil, it is just one step away from a big score. He had a very bad series in last couple of months. But he is such a good player, if he spends time in the middle, I want him to spend more time in the middle, forget about scoring runs.

“He has to be there (at the crease) for an hour, once he is there for an hour, automatically his batting form will come. He just has to spend time and the first game will be crucial for him,” Rajput signed off.