Legendary South Africa all-rounder Jacques Kallis believes that India will face a tough challenge in overcoming the Proteas in their upcoming two-match Test series. Despite being a formidable force in Test cricket, India has not managed to defeat South Africa in a Test series away from home. Rohit Sharma’s team will aim to break this 31-year jinx, which has eluded previous Indian teams. The last time India toured South Africa, the series ended 2-1 in favor of the hosts, with India failing to capitalize on their momentum despite winning the opening Test.
The upcoming tour will see India play South Africa in all three formats, but the focus will undoubtedly be on the two Test matches, which are part of the World Test Championship (WTC) cycle. Star players from both sides, including Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, and Kagiso Rabada, will be participating exclusively in the Test format during the series.
“This is a good Indian team, but South Africa is tough to beat in South Africa,” Jacques Kallis stated. “Centurion will probably suit South Africa, and Newlands will probably suit India. It will be a good series, and it will come down to one or two sessions that one team might play better than the other. It would be a closely fought contest.”
Kallis also addressed the transitional phase in Indian cricket, with the team’s average age hovering around the mid-30s. Skipper Rohit Sharma is 36, star batter Virat Kohli is 35, and key bowlers Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja are 37 and 35, respectively, while Mohammed Shami is 33.
“There would be a transition sooner or later in another couple of years,” Jacques Kallis acknowledged. “If talented youngsters are groomed by keeping them with the senior team, the handing of the baton becomes easier.”
He emphasized the importance of exposing young players to unfamiliar territories and fostering a learning environment. “Older players obviously have got the knowledge, and you would combine that with younger players,” he explained. “That’s the job of coaches and selectors to make sure so that even if younger players might not be playing, they are in that environment where they can learn from the older players.”
Jacques Kallis, who scored 45 Test centuries during his illustrious 18-year career, further elaborated on the significance of knowledge sharing and exposure. He explained, “They should travel to these parts of the world that they are probably not used to and learn from sitting on the side. Try to pick up as much knowledge as possible and play those warm-up games where big players are resting for. Picking up knowledge helps a lot, and transition when a few players are retiring, it becomes a little bit easier.”
Recalling his own career beginnings in the mid-1990s, when players like Kepler Wessels, Peter Kirsten, and Andrew Hudson were all retiring or nearing retirement, Jacques Kallis noted that South Africa had a well-established system of transitioning younger players into the national team.
“Certainly, when I started, South Africa was very good at transitioning younger players into good international players, and that obviously needs to be done when senior players retire,” he concluded