Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Opinion: The Proteas pathway to success in India

Opinion: The Proteas pathway to success in India

The Proteas pathway to success in India

The Proteas pathway to a successful Test series in India begins with the need not to be overwhelmed by the setting or their opponents.

Faf du Plessis will need to lead from the front in this regard. It won't be easy though with his opposite number hellbent on keeping India firmly in place as the number one side.

Photo Copyright Steve Haag Sports

If Kohli can intimidate a Proteas player, he will, and the crowd will do their bit to throw off the visitors as well.  The India skipper is an intense competitor, but he will need to be careful as he is just one demerit away from a mandatory suspension.

In the T20I series, the Proteas didn't back down from a challenge and Tabraiz Shamsi enjoyed a few verbal sparring sessions with the India skipper.

The Test Arena is the game's ultimate challenge and one that requires a complete focus on the task at hand whether batting, bowling or in the field.

A template for the style of play that will be necessary can be found in the team that secured the Proteas only Test series win in India back in 2000.

The 2000 Proteas team in India was packed full of players willing to guts it out and get into the scrap. They fought back from surrendering a first-innings lead in the first Test with accurate bowling, before closing out the series with one of the great batting performances in Asia by a South African XI.

Every player in that team was eager to contribute in any way they could. From Nicky Boje's 85 as a night watchman in the second Test in Bangalore to Allan Donald toughing it out at the crease to eke out more runs later in the innings. The bowlers were unerring, supported by energetic and determined fielding. The Proteas will need Quinton de Kock to emulate Lance Klusener's counter-attacking batting from the middle-order.

The current crop of Proteas are facing an India team far more consistent than their 2000 counterparts, the last team to test India on their own patch also have some lessons for the Proteas.

Former Aussie skipper Steve Smith is a uniquely talented Test batsman but perhaps his greatest strength in the ultimate format is his focus. Smith seems to be in his own world when batting in Test cricket, seemingly unaware of the television cameras and the crowd. The unorthodox Smith is really good at living in the moment and playing the game ball by ball.

Smith helped Australia run India close taking the opening Test only to see the hosts fight back. Like the Proteas Australia's batsmen struggle against spin but they are a determined bunch and kept the pressure on when they were in the field.

No style of play will guarantee the Proteas victory but they will need plenty of grit if they are to earn anything in the upcoming Test series.