Former South African stalwarts Henry, Callaghan raise a toast to India

Updated: Feb 26, 2018, 20:06 IST | Clayton Murzello

"Proud of the boys for showing real steel. Easily #TeamIndia's best ever tour of South Africa by a country mile." There won't be many who disagree with Team India head coach Ravi Shastri's above Twitter post after the tourists clinched the Twenty20 I

Omar Henry
Omar Henry

"Proud of the boys for showing real steel. Easily #TeamIndia's best ever tour of South Africa by a country mile." There won't be many who disagree with Team India head coach Ravi Shastri's above Twitter post after the tourists clinched the Twenty20 International series at Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday night. Like Shastri, Omar Henry, the South African former left-arm spinner, who has also been his country's chief cricket selector and a commentator, has seen several Indian teams struggling in South Africa. In fact, Henry was part of the Kepler Wessels-led Test team in the first ever India v South Africa series in 1992-93. He didn't figure in the seven-match ODI series, but saw Mohammed Azharuddin's team go down 2-5.

Dave Callaghan
Dave Callaghan

Cape Town-based Henry who had predicted a harder time for India after they lost the opening Test at Newlands in January, was delighted to see the Indians coming back to win the final Test at Johannesburg and following that up with triumphs in the 50-50 and 20-20 formats. "I think they [Team India] were fantastic ambassadors and showed the cricket world that they are a much- improved team while playing on bouncy and seamer-friendly pitches. They are going to become a force also away from home," Henry told mid-day yesterday.

Henry, South Africa's first spinner after they were readmitted to Test cricket during the 1992-93 season, was thrilled to see wrist spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav weave their magic and play a significant role in India's 5-1 romp in the ODIs. "In terms of limited overs cricket, they [Chahal and Kuldeep) can become world-class, if not already. They both excite me. They are still young and the more they get exposed at international level, the better they will become. Don't forget, they were bowling along with a good seam and swing attack," said Henry.

Meanwhile, former SA all-rounder Dave Callaghan, who figured in the seven one-dayers against India in 1992-93, was highly impressed with Virat Kohli's bunch. "It was great having India in South Africa this summer. They are an excellent side in all formats and because of all that quality, they have adapted to South African conditions so easily. The Test results could have been a little different if India had come out earlier for preparation," said Callaghan. The Port Elizabeth former cricketer, who conquered testicular cancer, made a return to the team in 2000.

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