South Africa coach Ottis Gibson has declared that the Proteas will have plans in place for Virat Kohli and his India team-mates in the upcoming three-match Test series beginning on Friday at Newlands.
Speaking to the media ahead of the first Test, the former England bowling coach said he does not expect Kohli to have the same impact as he did against his former side towards the end of 2016.
The Indian skipper had then struck two centuries and as many fifties to lead the hosts to a 4-0 series victory over England.
“They (India) were too good for us,” Gibson said.
“They played really well and were led very well by the captain, who got a lot of runs. There were times in those conditions where we couldn’t get him out,” he added.
“I think in these conditions it will be a lot different. We’ll have some plans for him as we will for every other player in the team,” Gibson replied when asked if Kohli could recreate the same magic on South African shores.
Gibson is staying cautious with Dale Steyn’s return to international cricket.
The Proteas coach has a selection headache ahead of the first Test with Dale Steyn returning to international cricket after a long injury lay-off.
“He’s had a year off,” said Gibson about the long-time number one bowler in the world, who is recovering from a serious shoulder injury.
“He might well play this weekend, depending on the make-up of the team.
“I wouldn’t think that if you were to pick a three-man seam attack plus a spinner that you would want to put him into that three-man attack in case something happened. It would leave you too vulnerable in case he doesn’t finish a game.”
Indian top-order batsman Cheteshwar Pujara, meanwhile, continued the message of confidence that has been a hallmark of the Indian party since they arrived in South Africa.
“Our preparation has been fantastic so far,” said Pujara. “We are very confident.”
Pujara has expressed confidence in India’s preparation.
Pujara said the Indians had been getting ready for the tour since their three home Tests against Sri Lanka in November and December, with pitches prepared to be as much like those in South Africa as possible.
“When we were playing Sri Lanka we had this series in mind. Obviously it was different from what we might get here but we tried replicating what we could. Even in our net practices we had in mind that we would be touring South Africa and we were trying to practise accordingly,” said Pujara.
Pujara is on his third tour of South Africa. “Most of our players have been here before,” he said. “We are not bothered about the kind of pitch that is prepared. Bounce is always a challenge but we know what to expect from the pitch and the opposition. When you have spent some time on these pitches you know what to do.”