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Fri, 26 Jul 2013 14:15:00 GMT

Indian batsmen are not afraid of pace: Rhodes

In what is a major encouragement, former Proteas batsman Jonty Rhodes said that Indian batsmen have the temperament and technique to face Steyn & co. when India tours South Africa at the end of this year.

Indian batsmen are not afraid of pace: Rhodes

Speaking at a promotional event in Mumbai, Rhodes was reported by PTI as saying, "In the IPL, they (Indians) are playing against the South Africans and Australians. They have a lot more confidence playing against them.

"Dale Steyn is fast but he is not going to kill you. Vernon Philander bowls 130 kmph but he bowls in good areas and Morne Morkel gets bounce. It needs different skills to face those three different bowlers, but the Indian line up certainly has the ability to outclass the South African pace attack if they put their minds to it," said the 43-year-old.

India will visit South Africa for a two-month tour in which they will play two T20Is, seven ODIs, and three Tests. With a fast-bowling attack comprising of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, and Vernon Philander, the South African bowling attack is the best in the world right now.
South Africa has been far from a happy hunting ground for India where it has won only two out of 15 matches.

The ace fielder also heaped praise on MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli and said, "Kohli is a very strong player. He accumulates runs very quickly. He will be a real danger man in South Africa and don't forget the captain (Dhoni) batting down the order. He (also) scores runs at a fast rate and is not afraid of the short-ball.

"That is going to be another key in South Africa, the guys who pull and cut. Kohli and Dhoni play very well off the back foot," he said.

"I have only watched Dhoni during IPL and watched how smart he is. He has got a great record in winning matches and tough contests. He is street smart. His batting is definitely not traditional.
"Every time he brings in a bowler, every time a new batsman comes to the crease, he has got a specific plan for that. I have great respect for the way he has led the team in the last four seasons," said Rhodes.

"Playing a Test series in South Africa is always difficult for a team from the sub-continent. South Africa are the number one ranked Test team currently. India have struggled a bit in the last year and and a half," Rhodes said.

"The key to do well in South Africa is to bat for long. There is bounce in the wicket. Even if you win the first session of the day, you could still be bowled out at the end of the day. You have to bat well in all three sessions.

"India has a team that is capable. They are batting long. Shikhar (Dhawan), Virat Kohli, Sachin Tendulkar, all these guys are used to batting for long periods of time. That will be the key when they tour South Africa.

"They have got a bowling attack that can get 20 wickets but can their batsmen get big runs, that will be the key," he said.
Speaking of Tendulkar’s approaching milestone of 200 Tests, Rhodes said, “Sachin Tendulkar is not in the team because he wants to play 200 Test matches. He wants to do well for the India. He still has got that ability.

"It is 24 years of international cricket, a record in itself. He is going to play his 200th Test match now. Most records are meant to be broken but I don't think this is going to broken, not for a very long time anyway."

However, when asked about Ponting’s remark on the age-old question of Lara and Tendulkar, Rhodes answered diplomatically, “Lara, Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting are the three of the best players I have seen. It's difficult for me to pick one over the other, but all of them have different reasons for being such top players," he said.

"It is difficult for me to separate. I know Ricky Ponting would say Brian Lara is the guy who would bat quickly. But you have got to remember that Tendulkar batted for a long period of time and we had to grind ourselves and bat for a long period of time because the wickets were slow and turning, so you couldn't put bat on ball."

Rhodes, the fielding coach of the IPL side Mumbai Indians, praised Rohit Sharma and said that it was time for the new India opener to secure his position in the team.

"If you watched IPL 5, he won us a lot of matches by playing through the innings. In a 20-over game scoring 50 or 60, that is winning the game. He has to convert that."

"Virat Kohli's conversion rate from 50s to 100s is pretty amazing. Once he gets in, he certainly goes through. Maybe it's a skill that Rohit would take on. He is so gifted and being so talented he plays so many different shots."

Finally coming to the much debated DRS, Rhodes supported its use and said, “"I support technology. Innovation or technology, anyway you can make the game fairer to both teams. It might be wrong sometimes, but it is wrong for both sides. Unfortunately human error is something you can't get away from but if you can reduce that then you have a role within the game.

"You may say we are not going to use it because it is not 100 per cent foolproof but it does reduce the possibility of getting it wrong on the field. I think it is fair for both the teams," the Natal-born player maintained.

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