Not Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma Or Jasprit Bumrah! South Africa Legend Predicts This Player Will Make ‘Massive Difference’ With His Absence In Test Series

Mohammed Shami’s absence will certainly leave a gaping hole in India’s planning but former South African pacer Fanie de Villiers believes that Rohit Sharma’s men have the best chance of ending a 31-year wait for a Test series win in the Rainbow Nation. De Villiers, once a well-known exponent of the slower delivery in white ball cricket and Allan Donald’s worthy new ball partner till the mid 1990s, complimented Jasprit Bumrah, Shami and Mohammed Siraj for being a pace unit that has understood the importance of line more than length in pacer-friendly conditions, unlike some of the earlier India attacks.

“Indian team has arrived in South Africa with its best ever chance (to win a series),” De Villiers told PTI during an exclusive interview ahead of the Boxing Day Test starting December 26.

Sitting in the museum of his sprawling mansion, which is a stone’s throw from the Supersport Park, the man, who once troubled the iconic Sachin Tendulkar with his well disguised slow off-cutters, explained what made this Indian attack special.

“For the first time they have got fast bowlers, who can bowl ‘the line’ and not just hit the length. They can bowl on the imaginary ‘fifth’, ‘sixth’ off-stump line. If you can get at least four balls on that corridor, that’s how you win Tests,” said the bowler, who had a stunning economy rate of less than four in 85 ODIs and less than three in 18 Tests.

“India have been coming for many years but very few of your fast bowlers were line bowlers. But now you have Bumrah and Siraj. Yes, I agree that Shami not playing makes a massive difference. But Siraj and Bumrah are bowlers who can bowl line, whereas South African bowlers bowl from off to leg stump.

“Because they (Proteas pacers) are youngsters running and trying to bowl fast. Only Rabada can bowl that good line, I think India have got the best chance ever.”

Talk about Rabada and there’s a twinkle in his eyes as he rates him on par with Dale Steyn in terms of quality and ability.

“You have to understand when did the fast bowler start playing. Rabada had the privilege of being a big boy and did lot of gym and Rabada would have made any Test cricket team, from early days and it puts him in league of Dale Steyn, who would have made every Test team,” he said.

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