Former India captain and current India A and U-19 coach Rahul Dravid said that Virat Kohli’s Indian team will be successful in South Africa. “I am very confident that this team will do well against South Africa because they have all the bases covered,” he said in an interview with India Today, “If you see, the performance of this team over the last year and year-and-a-half, it has been exceptional against some tough opposition even though they were at home. I think we are ready to really do well overseas and most of the players who are part of the squad have been to South Africa and Australia before. So I really think we are set up for what, hopefully, will be a successful away series for India. If we have a bit of luck, like no injuries, I think we have the team to do well overseas.”
Rahul Dravid is one of the few Indian captains to have tasted success abroad. In his brief stint as captain in the post-Sourav Ganguly era, he led the Indian team to series wins in England and West Indies. Dravid also said that Virat Kohli is going through a much better phase than he did between 2003 and 2004. Dravid hit three Test double centuries in six months in that time. “I think Virat is going through a much better phase than what I was going through in 2003. He has already got six double hundreds so far,” said Dravid, “It’s incredible and phenomenal the way he has been playing. It’s the consistency of his performance that stands out for me. He is brilliant in all forms. It’s not just Test cricket but ODIs and T20s as well. He is playing great cricket. I always tell the under-19 boys that I coach to see the standard that Virat has set and the young cricketers should actually aspire to match the level of his consistency.”
Dravid remained a crucial chink in the Indian Test batting line-up until his retirement but the no.3 spot that he left vacant has now been filled ably by Cheteshwar Pujara. “Cheteshwar Pujara has done really well for himself and for the team. He is a fine player and a lot of success we get overseas in times to come, will depend on the start we get and how the top order plays, which also includes Pujara,” he said. Pujara has had a phenomenal year in 2017. He scored 1140 runs in 18 innings, scoring a highest of 202 that came off a whopping 525 balls. “I think he has a really important role to play in this team and I am looking forward to watching him in the next one year,” said Dravid.