Conditions in South Africa very different and western for India: Graeme Smith

Conditions in South Africa very different and western for India: Graeme Smith

Smith was impressed with du Plessis' leadership but opined that he must captain in only two formats.

Graeme Smith
Graeme Smith. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

Former South Africa skipper Graeme Smith caveated a warning to the Indian team. The Kohli-led side is due to tour South Africa early next year, a country where they have won just two Tests with the last one coming in 2010. Smith said that the conditions in South Africa will be very different from where India has been playing since 2015.

‘Kohli has been inspiring his teammates’

Without a doubt, the Indian side has had a great couple of years in white fennels which culminated in them becoming the No. 1 Test side in the world. In this period, the Indian team has played largely at home along with a series in West Indies and Sri Lanka each. The real test for the current No. 1 Test side lies in succeeding in alien conditions which they will encounter in most part of 2018.

Smith acknowledged the progress India has made under Kohli but was unsure about how they would fair when they arrive in South Africa next year.

“India have been doing quite well in Test cricket. A lot can be attributed to how Virat Kohli has been playing Test cricket and inspiring teammates. I think the conditions in South Africa will be very different and western for the Indian team. They have been playing either at home or in Sri Lanka and the Caribbean where the ball comes a bit slow. The conditions in SA will be the real test for the Indians,” said Smith in an interview with Hindustan Times.

New captain and coach soon for the Proteas

AB de Villiers confirmed his commitment to all three formats last week but relinquished the ODI captaincy. While his presence as a player across formats is essential to South Africa, doubts still remain on who will lead the side in ODIs. Faf du Plessis is the frontrunner to take on the mantle but that would mean that the right-hander will be leading South Africa in all three formats, something Smith has reservations about.

“Faf is doing a wonderful job as captain in Tests and T20Is. He is growing in stature. But I think leading in all three formats can really wear you down mentally. My advice for him will be to lead in just two formats. It can really be stressful and take a toll on the mind. With so much international cricket happening these days, leading the national team in all formats can be really demanding,” said Smith.

South African cricket is at the crossroads at the minute. They will shortly have a new captain in ODIs. They are also due to appoint a new coach who will work along the side with the primary focus on winning the ICC World Cup in England which is less than two years away. With the way things stand at the moment, the Proteas will have to do a lot of work before they travel to England in search of a maiden World Cup triumph.