Mantra for India will be new ball in Test series against South Africa: Irfan Pathan

NEW DELHI: Former Indian left-arm fast-bowler Irfan Pathan suggests that the key focus for the visitors in the upcoming Test series against South Africa later this month should be mastering the challenge posed by the new ball in both batting and bowling innings.
India will play two Tests against South Africa, with the first scheduled in Centurion from December 26-30 and the second in Cape Town from January 3-7, 2024.
This series marks India’s second engagement in the 2023-2025 World Test Championship cycle, following their 1-0 victory in a two-Test series against West Indies in July.
“Look, they have to search for that mantra, and I think that the mantra is in the new ball. When you bat and bowl well with the new ball, that is the biggest mantra, that you conquered it, then things will become easier for you. Because in South Africa, the toughest thing to do is bat and face the new ball,” said Pathan to Star Sports.
India’s last Test series in South Africa took place in December 2021-January 2022. The first Test in Centurion saw India emerge victorious, but South Africa mounted a comeback by winning the matches in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Ultimately, South Africa secured the series with a 2-1 triumph.
“I found that last time when we played that and won a Test series when we won against them, the way we bowled in the second and third spell, we were tired as a bowling unit, and our length was a bit short, there was no shine and when we bowled up the pitch to them, I remember the pitch map very well, the balls pitched up were not shining at all, it was just speed,” added Pathan.
For India, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami (subject to fitness), Mohammed Siraj, Prasidh Krishna and Mukesh Kumar form the fast-bowling department. With the bat, captain Rohit Sharma will be leading the batting charge alongside Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul and Ishan Kishan.
“So, I think the mantra we need to follow is that for the new ball, but even when we have the old ball, our focus and performance should be at the same level. This is where fitness also comes in, if we want to win these two Test matches, I agree that these should have actually been three or four test matches.”
“But it can be of advantage to the Indian side because in two Test matches, they can go all in and make their bowling reach a level that in the four innings, we have to take all 40 wickets of the opposition,” concluded Pathan.
(With IANS Inputs)

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