Mumbai: Former Team India manager Lalchand Rajput feels that Virat Kohli and his men play with a crush- the-opponents approach and that itself would be enough for them to eke out an unprecedented Test triumph in South Africa next month.
India will tour South Africa for a three-Test, six-ODI and three-Twenty20 series, starting January 5 and it is being touted as the most challenging assignment so far for Kohli as captain.
Speaking to PTI, Rajput, who was the head coach of the Afghanistan cricket team and now coaches the Assam Ranji team, rated India's chances quite highly.
"The way the Indian team is playing, they are playing tough cricket. With Virat Kohli being the leader, the aggression which he shows, seems to be imbibed in other players too and they want to win at any cost. They want to crush the opponents," the 56-year-old former Mumbai opener said.
Asked for a prediction, Rajput replied "2-1 in India's favour", quite promptly. India have not won any Test series in South Africa thus far.
"This is the team that would do wonders and I am hopeful that they will do really well in South Africa," Rajput said.
According to Rajput, the Indian bowlers have the ability to pick up 20 South African wickets, which would be a must to forcing a result in their team's favour.
"To win a Test match, we need to take 20 wickets. We have the bowlers who can take 20 (South African) wickets. Bhuvneswar Kumar is in peak form, Umesh Yadav has done exceptionally well, (Mohammad) Shami, after injury, is bowling superbly.
"If they get a little bit of help from the wickets then these bowlers are dangerous," said Rajput.
Rajput also described all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who has been picked in the squad for South Africa, as a "game-changer".
"Because if you have to take 20 wickets, you have got to have five bowlers, it might be three medium-pacers, an all-rounder and one spinner or it can be two medium-pacers, an all-rounder and two spinners, depending on the pitch conditions," explained Rajput.
India's Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane, who had a poor outing against Sri Lanka, has not been among the runs, but Rajput has just one advise for the Mumbai batsman and that is to spend time at the crease.
"For any batsman, who has done so well on foreign soil, it is just one step away from a big score. He had a very bad series in last couple of months,"
"But he is such a good player, if he spends time in the middle, I want him to spend more time in the middle, forget about scoring runs.
"He has to be there (at the crease) for an hour, once he is there for an hour, automatically his batting form will come. He just has to spend time and the first game will be crucial for him," Rajput signed off....