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Aggression the key for India in SA

By Ravi Shastri
Friday, December 17, 2021

Rarely has a Test received a build-up as this one in Centurion. Not only the fans and cricketers, even the rain gods have coming rushing in! The hosts, predictably, have fired the right salvos. A pace-friendly pitch, a lethal fast-bowling pair and a strategy to play the chin music for the visitors - they feel even Virender Sehwag could be softened up by the barrage of liquid pace.

One thing is for sure, with the amount of rain around, there will be more than something there for the fast bowlers.

Their fear of Sehwag is understandable. The opener has hurt them the most in recent times. If Sehwag is neutralised, India might opt for the waiting game and it would be playing right into the hands of the Proteas.

Over the years, various theories have floated around Sehwag. Some say bounce him; some want the pace of the ball taken off; some would have their bowlers bowl to him wide outside off stump. Nothing has worked conclusively. Sehwag remains the most feared bat in international cricket at the moment.

What he will have to watch is movement in the air and off the seam. But India must be alert to this strategy. I feel that they need to be aggressive at all times. They must not commit the mistake they made last time. Then, they won the first Test and went into a shell. Proteas nailed them in the end. They need to meet fire with fire; thrust with more thrust. They are No. 1 and must play true to their status.

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