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Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team can make history in South Africa: Lalchand Rajput

Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team is on a high following nine consecutive Test series wins, and former India cricketer Lalchand Rajput believes this side can go on to create history in South Africa when they face the Proteas in January 2018.

cricket Updated: Dec 15, 2017 10:43 IST
Sidharth Gulati
Sidharth Gulati
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Virat Kohli,Indian cricket team,South African cricket team
Former India cricketer Lalchand Rajput believes Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team can go on to create history in South Africa when they face the Proteas in January 2018(BCCI/Sportzpics)

India have more or less decimated the teams that have come their way in the last two years.

While India’s limited-overs performance has been nothing short of brilliant, it’s the impressive show in Tests that has everyone talking. With nine consecutive series wins, matching Ricky Ponting’s Australia – Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team is on a high.

The question is can India continue the winning momentum overseas, starting with the South Africa tour in January.

While some are sceptical, former captains Sunil Gavaskar, Rahul Dravid and Dilip Vengsarkar are confident of a phenomenal show. The latest to join the debate is former team manager Lalchand Rajput, who feels the team has the potential to create history overseas.

“Considering the situation they (India) are in, even if they are playing home or away, they just want to win. Kohli is an aggressive captain who is not afraid to lose. It’s a ruthless team,” Rajput told Hindustan Times.

Asked who could be the key men, he said although the side has players who can win a game in any situation, Kohli and Rohit Sharma’s role could decide the fate of the three-Test series against the Proteas.

“Virat and Rohit are the key players. Then, you have Ajinkya Rahane and the bowling too is good.

“India have a good chance of beating the South African cricket team. This team has the potential to do wonders and make history,” Rajput, who played two Tests and four ODIs, added.

He praised Rohit, saying the Mumbai batsman had better things in store.

Rohit, who is captaining India in the three-ODI series against Sri Lanka in Kohli’s absence, smashed a record third double century to guide the hosts to a series-levelling win in Mohali after the embarrassing loss in Dharamsala.

“When he (Rohit) bats, he’s a treat to watch,” said Rajput.

“He was a revelation in the 2007 ICC World T20 and did well in the tri-series in Australia in 2008. Yes, he hasn’t played much Test cricket, but he has been unlucky due to injuries. Even in the Nagpur Test against South Africa in 2010, he was set to make his debut but got injured.

“Now, things seem good. He did well in the Sri Lanka Tests and hopefully will continue his good form,” he added.

Rajput, the former Afghanistan coach, hailed the BCCI’s decision to host the newcomers for their debut Test.

Afghanistan and Ireland, awarded Test status by the International Cricket Council (ICC) earlier this year, are set to play regular Test cricket in the next cycle of the Future Tours Programme (2019-23). While Afghanistan will play India, Ireland will host Pakistan in May next.

“It’s a great thing that they (Afghanistan) will play against the No 1 team in the world. India has always been supportive of Afghanistan.

“They (Afghanistan) have naturally talented players who want to excel. The good thing is that they’ll play against top teams. Five-day cricket is a different ball game and they’ll get to learn a lot,” he said.

First Published: Dec 15, 2017 09:23 IST