Virat Kohli also had a successful run in the recent ICC World Cup 2023 as he smashed 765 runs including three centuries and six half-centuries. He also won the Player of the Tournament award for his ability to consistently score runs. Kallis feels that Kohli will be the key to India's victory in Test cricket against South Africa
Jacques Kallis, Virat Kohli (Pic: File Pic)
South Africa's legend Jacques Kallis believes India's stalwart batsman Virat Kohli needs to be at his best if India wants to defeat South Africa in the two-match Test series, starting from December 26.
India will re-commence their ICC World Test Championship campaign with two Tests against a powerful South Africa line-up away from home over the Christmas and New Year period and Kohli's form with the bat is likely to be pivotal to their fortunes.
Virat Kohli was India's leading run-scorer in the last World Test Championship cycle with 932 from 30 innings. He has scored a century and a half-century from two completed tests against the West Indies to start the 2023-2023 cycle.
India is at the second spot in the WTC table. This year in seven Tests, Virat has scored 557 runs at an average of 55.70, with two centuries and a fifty. His best score is 186.
Virat Kohli also had a successful run in the recent ICC World Cup 2023 as he smashed 765 runs including three centuries and six half-centuries. He also won the Player of the Tournament award for his ability to consistently score runs. Kallis feels that Kohli will be the key to India's victory in Test cricket against South Africa.
"I am sure he will want to have a big series here in South Africa. He has been in good form. I think he will play a major role in helping India. If they are to win here, he will have to have a good series," Kallis told Star Sports as quoted by ICC.
Virat has an excellent record against the red ball in South Africa, with the 35-year-old having scored two of his 29 Test centuries against the Proteas away from home. It is also one of only three countries where Kohli can boast an average greater than 50, with his healthy average of 51.35 only bettered in Australia and at home in India. In all, Virat has scored 719 runs in seven Tests in SA, which includes two centuries and three fifties.
"He is a massive player, no matter where it is. Having played here quite a bit and had a fair amount of success," Kallis noted.
"He will be able to pass that knowledge on to the other guys, especially the younger guys and give them ideas on how to manage these conditions and then what to expect," concluded Kallis.
Kallis on the other hand, is expecting Proteas to prove that its difficult to beat them on their home soil. The last time both the teams clashed against each other, South Africa sealed the test series by 2-1.
"This is a good Indian team but South Africa is tough to beat in South Africa," Kallis added.
"Centurion will probably suit South Africa and Newlands will probably suit India. It will be a good series and it will come down to one or two sessions that one team might play better than the other. It would be a closely fought contest," he concluded.
India: Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan (wk), KL Rahul (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Mohammed Shami (subject to fitness), Jasprit Bumrah (vc), Prasidh Krishna.
South Africa: Temba Bavuma (c), David Bedingham, Nandre Burger, Gerald Coetzee, Tony de Zorzi, Dean Elgar, Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Wiaan Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Keegan Petersen, Kagiso Rabada, Tristan Stubbs and Kyle Verreynne.
Test schedule: December 26-30 - 1st Test, Centurion January 3-7 - 2nd Test, Cape Town.
(With ANI Inputs)