Hardik Pandya and Virat Kohli © AFP
Hardik Pandya and Virat Kohli © AFP

One of the most memorable moments in IndiaSouth Africa rivalry was Andre Nel’s tussle with Sreesanth during the 2006 Johannesburg Test. Nel, who has had a reputation of being one of the fiercest, most competitive and most animated on the field, opened about his thoughts about bowling to the likes of Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya and his relation with Sreesanth in an interview with Cricbuzz: “I would love to bowl at Kohli. I always wanted to get the best players out. Yes I might have failed but if I can compete at that level, I would have loved to bowl to him. I would love to bowl to Pandya too… he’s a nice, lovely character. He is always looking for his battle, that’s his nature. He wants to counter-attack. That’s a challenge I would have liked to take on. Also, Shikhar Dhawan looks like a guy who doesn’t veer away from a battle … that’s what I would have wanted. These three seem like real characters in the Indian side. There are other good players — like Pujara is an unbelievable player but he doesn’t give anything away. But those three guys look like, if you give them a battle, they’ll give you a battle back. That’s the guys I would like to bowl to.”

Nel did not shy away from speaking about his relation with Sreesanth: “We always used to have a laugh together. We would see each other and laugh. We never had hard feelings, it was in the heat of the moment. But that’s the thing, in South Africa, everyone misinterpreted me as aggressive. Yes, I was aggressive but I would be the first person to go and have beer with you and have a laugh with you. Most of the guys I had the biggest fight with are probably best friends with me.”