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Skipping warm-up games in South Africa will be hard on India: Ajit Wadekar

Ajit Wadekar said the Indian cricket team’s decision to skip a warm-up game during their tour to South Africa might turn out to be a hard one on the players vis-a-vis getting acclimatized to the conditions.

cricket Updated: Dec 21, 2017 20:47 IST
Bihan Sengupta
Bihan Sengupta
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Ajit Wadekar,Indian cricket team,India vs South Africa
Ajit Wadekar, who was conferred the Dr Rameshwar Dayal Lifetime Achievement Award in Mumbai on Thursday, also had a few things to say about India’s upcoming tour of South Africa. (HT Photo)

The Indian cricket team’s decision to skip the warm-up match before the first Test against South Africa on January 5 hasn’t gone down well with former skipper Ajit Wadekar. The former skipper said the decision might turn out to be a hard one on Virat Kohli’s side vis-a-vis getting acclimatized to the conditions.

“What one requires is to get adjusted to those wickets because they are very quick. Not playing practice games… Well, I think it’s going to be hard on our players,” said Wadekar, who was conferred the Dr Rameshwar Dayal Lifetime Achievement Award here on Thursday. “Ours is a well balanced side. They are professional cricketers and I think they can do very well.”

It was under Wadekar that India won their first Test series abroad in 1971 when they beat West Indies, following it up with a series win against England.

“South Africa is a tough country, to not just play but also play cricket against. They are tough guys. The wicket is a bit faster and harder. I think India will have to go well prepared,” he added. “At the moment, the team’s doing well. They are a balanced side and have enough experience to play on any kind of track.”

Wadekar also spoke highly of skipper Virat Kohli and admitted his aggressive approach is what’s required in modern day cricket. “He’s (Kohli) a tremendously attacking cricketer, and at present, it requires cricketers to be like that. Another thing that I like about him is that he likes the team to win all the time. He doesn’t like to lose,” said Wadekar.

Kohli is in superb form, becoming the first Test captain to score six double hundreds in Tests. He has 32 ODI hundreds and is second only to Sachin Tendulkar. However, there’s some concern regarding his deputy Ajinkya Rahane, who has scored just one century in the last 14 Tests. But neither Wadekar nor Rahane’s personal coach Pravin Amre, seemed concerned.

“It can happen to any great cricketer and Rahane is one of the best India has produced. I guess it won’t be long before he comes out of his bad patch and the sooner he does, the better it will be for the team. I guess the selectors have enough confidence in him and he should keep playing and not lose confidence,” said Wadekar.

“In his last tour of South Africa, he averaged more than 65. India and the selectors have a lot of faith in him, that is the reason he is the vice-captain. That responsibility is there and he is aware of that. I am sure in the upcoming month, whatever people believe in him, he will deliver,” said Amre, who scored a century in his debut Test against South Africa in Durban. Amre was awarded for excellence in sports coaching.

First Published: Dec 21, 2017 19:33 IST