Dubai [UAE]: South Africa pacer Vernon Philander believes that the upcoming three-match Test series against India is going to be tough and has also emphasized the need for spending time in the middle.
His remarks came after the conclusion of the three-day practice match between South Africa and the Board President’s XI.
“Mainly it is just about getting a feel for the wickets. It is going to be a tough series, obviously, so the more time you spend out there in the middle, the better,” International Cricket Council (ICC) quoted Philander as saying.
In the practice match, South Africa scored 279/6 in their first innings and was able to dismiss eight players of the opposition side for 265 before play on day three ended. Philander played a knock of 48 runs and returned with bowling figures of 2/27.
South Africa will be playing their first Test series after the retirements of Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn. Philander feels that it will give the other senior players in the side to step up and showcase match-winning performances.
“Spotlight will be on a lot of big players to make a statement. Our job is to come here and give the first punch as India is obviously expected to do well. We are known as a team that starts slow so this time around we have to start well. There is a lot of pressure on players but then it’s international cricket and you want to keep it that way,” Philander said.
The series between India and South Africa will be a part of the World Test Championship (WTC).
Proteas are the only team apart from Bangladesh and Pakistan who are yet to start their WTC campaign.
“The Test championship brings in a new dimension. It is a new sort of excitement for players. Also knowing that you will be playing against top teams more often is great,” Philander said.
“It is a tough start…playing India in India but I do not think the South Africans would have wanted it any other way… take the big dogs in their home ground. All of us are looking forward to this challenge and there are a lot of player-to-player challenges as well. Can’t wait to get going,” he added.
In the last Test series between India and South Africa, Philander was exceptional as he picked up 15 wickets in three Tests at an average of 15.86.
South Africa’s Test squad for the series against India: Faf du Plessis (c), Temba Bavuma (VC), Theunis de Bruyn, Quinton de Kock, Dean Elgar, Zubayr Hamza, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Senuran Muthusamy, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Vernon Philander, Dane Piedt, Kagiso Rabada, Rudi Second.
India will take on South Africa in the first Test from October 2-6. (ANI)
Get the latest Nagpur sports news and breaking news and headlines from cricket, football, badminton, cycling, etc. Stay updated with Nagpur’s very own 24*7 online news portal, THE LIVE NAGPUR.