Venkatesh Prasad wants India to score big in South Africa
What's the story?
Former Team India pacer Venkatesh Prasad has demanded from India's batsmen to go big in South Africa, where they will be playing three Tests starting January 5 before commencing the limited-overs leg of six ODIs and three T20s.
"I have always felt that the batsmen need to put up big scores for the bowlers to bowl freely,” Prasad told mid-day.com yesterday with regard to the Tests. The former speedster from Karnataka, who is now serving as the national junior selection committee chief, believes that bowlers must be allowed to express themselves with a sense of freedom which can be obtained only when the batsmen score heavily.
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Prasad is a veteran of 161 ODIs and 33 Tests, having toured South Africa with the national side in 1996. On that tour, he took 17 wickets, including excellent spells of 5/60 and 5/93 in the first Test at Durban, though all his efforts went in vain as not only did India lose that match, but also the three-match series 2-0.
Post the 2007 World Cup, Prasad also served as India's bowling coach and before his stint ended in 2009, India's achievements included Test series wins in England and New Zealand.
The heart of the matter
Prasad, 48, urged India to post a competitive total in South Africa, where, he is confident that the ball would come on to the bat really well, thereby allowing the batsmen to play their shots freely as “most of our batsmen like to play shots” and also stated that the bounce would be even on those surfaces.
“You need to post over-300 scores and that's what we should be looking at. The bowlers will then have the freedom to express themselves," he went on to say. About the Indian bowlers, Prasad, who formed a potent pair with Javagal Srinath during his international career, said that their experience and variations made him believe that they would do really well.
India start their tour to South Africa with the first Test at Cape Town followed by Tests at Centurion and Johannesburg. What makes India's tour more challenging than the fast and bouncy tracks would be the fact that they have won only two Tests in South Africa so far.
A word of advice – for batsmen too – from an experienced campaigner like Prasad can prove to be extremely useful for India to perform well in a country where they are yet to win a Test series. And having worked with the likes of Ishant Sharma in the past, he is well equipped with the methods of the Indian pacers.