Faf du Plessis is confident that his side can deal with the threat posed by Virat Kohli in the first Test against India at Newlands.
It will be a massive clash between the top two-ranked sides in Test cricket, with South Africa needing a 3-0 series whitewash to eliminate the 13 ranking point deficit between them and their opponents.
Kohli’s men have won their last nine Test series, including six at home, with 21 wins, two defeats and seven draws.
Captaincy will play a huge part in this upcoming series, as Du Plessis and Kohli try to outsmart their opponents.
Both skippers have a decent record, with Kohli winning 20 of his 30 Tests as captain, while Du Plessis has won 10 out of 16.
However, Du Plessis wouldn’t focus on the battle between him and Kohli when facing the media on Thursday.
‘I don’t see a rivalry [with Kohli], I see it as South Africa vs India,’ he said. ‘We prepare the same way as we would for any other team. Virat doesn’t get any more time [from the Proteas] than any other of their other batsmen; they have a lot of quality batsmen. For me, it’s about how we prepare ourselves best to face India.’
Kohli is one of the best batsmen in the world. Ranked No 2 in Test cricket, he averages 53.75 in 63 Tests and has scored 20 centuries and 15 half-centuries. He has improved as a batsman since becoming captain – in 32 Tests he averages 67.44 having scored 13 centuries and five half-centuries.
Du Plessis acknowledged Kohli’s threat but remained confident that his bowling attack had a plan for him.
‘He is a very good player, his stats don’t lie. I’m not going into the plans [we have for him], but we hope we can put some pressure on him. We know he’s a big player for them and if we can keep him quiet, we have a bigger chance of dominating the series.’
— SA Cricket magazine (@SACricketmag) January 4, 2018
Photo: Petri Oeschger/Gallo Images