'I don't see India winning this': Ex-IND opener makes bold prediction ahead of Boxing Day Test against SA
- Both India and South Africa have strong bowling lineups but the Test series could boil down to batting supremacy.
South Africa remains a terrain where India is yet to win a Test series and the Virat Kohli-led unit is set to take on a daunting task in whites with the first Test, starting December 26 at the SuperSport Park in Centurion. Both sides have strong bowling lineups but the Test series could boil down to batting supremacy.
The hosts have a strong record in Centurion, having won 21 of the 26 Tests at the venue and registering just two defeats so far. Former India opener Aakash Chopra has also picked South Africa as minute favourites ahead of the three-match Test series. He also said that Anrich Nortje's absence tilts the series in the touring party's favour. The express pacer has been ruled out of the three Tests matches after failing to recover from a "persistent" injury.
"It is going to be interesting but I feel this might be a drawn series. 51% South Africa, 49% India. That's what I am thinking at this point in time. If any team wins, I feel that will be South Africa," Chopra said on his YouTube channel.
"I don't see India winning this right now, I mean it is difficult. I would have said 2-1 for South Africa if Nortje was playing. Nortje is not there, I am saying this series can again end at 1-1. There is a chance of a drawn Test match, the first Test could be in slight trouble because of rain."
Cricket in South Africa hasn't had the best of times recently but Chopra feels that things are "falling in place" for the Rainbow Nation. "It is not that South Africa's team is flying high. I think they are starting to regroup really well. The World Cup has shown that they have the players, where the things are falling in place but it is still a team in transition," he said.
The cricketer-turned-commentator also highlighted India's problems with team selection and consistency. "It is not a transition for our team. Our team's problem is the form and a little bit about availability because Pujara, Kohli and Rahane - these three are there in the middle, Rahul at the top, Pant as a keeper. All this is there but we have the issue of consistency. If we play to our potential, the Indian team's chances become quite bright."
India lost their last Test series 2-1 against the Proteas away from home when Faf du Plessis was in charge. Cut to the present day, the hosts are without the services of Quinton de Kock and Nortje, increasing the possibility of the Indian team clinching its first-ever Test series in South Africa.