Former cricketer Ajay Jadeja feels the first Test against South Africa, starting in the friendly conditions of Cape Town on Friday, will provide India
the best chance to record a win in the three-match series. Unlike in the past, India will play their first Test in Cape Town and then head to more seam-friendly venues like Centurion and Johannesburg for the remaining two matches. Although Jadeja conceded that the tour will be a challenging one for Virat Kohli and his men, he said Cape Town gives them a bright chance to start the tour on a confident note.
“It will be a great challenge. Lot of people expect us to win easily there but I don’t think it would be that easy. Yes we are better side than what we used to be in the past. But overseas is always a different ballgame. You see that when other teams come here it is the same for them,” Jedeja said.
“The first Test match is probably going to be the most important and India are lucky to play in Cape Town this time. Normally we play in Cape Town at the end of the series and by that time we are beaten mentally. Luckily we will be playing on a pitch that gives us the best chance to win because that’s the one that turns, that’s the one that gives a little help. It’s very hot out there and I believe it might turn. So, hopefully we will start well and have a better tour this time,” he added.
Jadeja, who was at a function to bid adieu to India’s blind cricket team for th fifth ODI World Cup, hoped Kohli and his men come back with flying colours from South Africa. “If you win nobody will remember what Virat Kohli had said but if you don’t end up winning then people will remind Kohli that the day before he left he was still getting married and wasn’t on the cricket field,” Jadeja said sarcastically. “I just hope for his sake India has a good series or otherwise people will say ‘you weren’t preparing either, forget about what BCCI has done. What were you doing?”
Jadeja said the Indian team management must pick up the right combination of bowlers and stick to them. “This time they have great expectations. India are thinking of winning the series on the back of their bowling prowess. But it remains to be seen who they play because in the last one, one and a half year I have not seen same five boys play together,” he said.
Even though he has his own issues with the BCCI, Jadeja feels for the the messy situation the Cricket Board finds itself in. “I feel sad, I have my own battles with them. Last couple of years you don’t know who is BCCI. It’s been an organisation which is there for a very long time. Mostly good things have been done by them otherwise you won’t have cricket where it is today.
“It is unfortunate that they have become the punching bags in the last few years,” he said. “It is nobody’s personal fiefdom than the players who play. If they were so wrong the game should have been at the bottom in this country. I still think they have many good things and other federations should be learning from them. I don’t think there is a better sporting body in the country than BCCI. Yes, there is a lot of things that needs to change, many things they could have done better. That doesn’t mean they are the worst in the country,” he added.