Kohli & co. ready for Proteas challenge: Gautam Gambhir

ANI | Updated: Dec 21, 2017 17:50 IST

New Delhi [India], Dec 21 (ANI): With India all set to tour South Africa for three Tests and number of limited-overs fixtures, veteran batsman Gautam Gambhir on Thursday said that though the Proteas would pose a big challenge, the Virat Kohli-led side is absolutely ready for the same.

Recently, Kohli has led Team India to nine consecutive Test series victories, with a 1-0 win over Sri Lanka at home.

However, India have a poor winning record abroad as they are yet to win a Test series in Australia and South Africa.

When asked about India's upcoming series against South Africa, Gambhir admitted that Proteas are a very good side, however, adding that the Kohli-led side would head into the series boosting with confidence.

"I think it is going to be a big challenge because South Africa is a great side. They are a very good side. They have got a good bowling attack. So, I think it is going to be a good challenge. I am sure the guys will be ready for it.Because you want to challenge yourself against the best in their own conditions," Gambhir told ANI.

The veteran batsman further called on the Indian team to get used to the conditions quickly and try to remain mentally fit.

"I think India will tour South Africa with a lot of confidence because they have done well in last two and a half years. But it is important to get used to the conditions really quickly and try to be mentally tough," Gambhir added.

India will tour South Africa for two months (January-February 2018) and will play three Tests, six ODIs and three T20 internationals. The first Test begins on January 5 at Cape Town.

Gambhir's comments came after Delhi stormed into the finals of the Ranji Trophy after the gap of ten long years.

After a brilliant show by openers Gambhir and Kunal Chandela in the first innings, Navdeep Saini and Kulwant Khejroliya starred with the ball to bowl out Bengal for just 86 in their second innings and seal an emphatic win of an innings and 26 runs to make it to the finals.

And Gambhir insisted that he was expecting the same result after spending so many years playing first-class cricket.

"Obviously, after spending so many years playing first-class cricket, you always expect to reach till the finals when you enter a new season. This will provide you with chance to play more matches and if you win the finals, you get more chances to play matches such as Irani Trophy," he said.

"Your first goal is to make it to the finals and then aim to win the finals. And there are so many youngsters in the team who are looking forward to it. It is because there are very few players who get chance to play Ranji Trophy finals," Gambhir added.

Gambhir has notched up a total of 632 runs, including three centuries and two half-centuries, in the Ranji Trophy campaign so far.

It is highly unlikely that he is recalled to the national side at the age of 36. However, Gambhir does not seem to be bothered about it as the southpaw said that he is focused on just scoring runs and nothing else.

"When you are playing cricket, your primary job is to score runs. It is because you don't get selected on your past performance, but you get monitored on your current performance. And the day people start selecting you based on your past performances, then I think it would be the time to leave. Ultimately, you are as good as the performance you displayed in your last innings. This keeps on motivating me," he explained.

"I have never thought about selection. I would not think about it in future as well. Selection is not in our hand. You have only one thing in hand to perform and score runs. And if you are scoring runs, you feel really satisfied," Gambhir added.

Delhi will lock horns with Vidarbha, who edged past eight-time champions Karnataka by five runs to reach their maiden Ranji Trophy final, in the title clash at the Holkar Cricket Stadium, Indore from December 29. (ANI)

iocl