Ajay Jadeja: Cape Town will be our best shot at a win

“A lot of people expect us to win easily but I don't think it will be. We are lucky to play in Cape Town first, on a pitch that gives you the best chance to win, turns and gives a little help, because normally we end up playing there last.”

Former Indian cricketer Ajay Jadeja greets members of Indian cricket team for blind ahead of its departure for the fifth edition of the ODI World Cup for Blind, in New Delhi on Thursday.   -  PTI

As Team India gets down to the challenge of facing South Africa in the first Test in Cape Town starting Friday, Ajay Jadeja feels it would be India's best chance to make a winning start to the tour.

“A lot of people expect us to win easily but I don't think it will be. We are lucky to play in Cape Town first, on a pitch that gives you the best chance to win, turns and gives a little help, because normally we end up playing there last and, by then, we are battered and badgered.

"Of all the grounds there, Cape Town is the only one that gives a little hope. It will also be hot so hopefully we will start well and have a better tour,” Jadeja said on the sidelines of a pre-departure meet for the Indian blind cricket team ahead of its ODI World Cup.

India would travel to more seam-friendly venues of Centurion and Johannesburg for the remaining two Tests. “But that's why you go on tours, right? To find out about yourself in diverse conditions. But it will also depend on the team management's decision.

"A lot of the hope is because of our fast bowlers but I have never seen five players playing together from one game to next ever. Let's see,” he shrugged.

He, however, refused to comment on the quality of opposition. “The main guys, players like Dale Steyn or AB de Villiers, haven't played for a year or more so I can't say how they will perform. Yes, we are a better team than what we used to be but overseas is a different ball game altogether, something we see when other teams come here as well,” he added.

Seeking recognition

The Cricket Association for the Blind in India (CABI), meanwhile, rued the fact that it was yet to get recognition from the government. “We have tried to meet the sports minister 1000 times but haven't been able to. These players miss out on their salaries and even have to leave jobs to play because every organisation seeks government recognition. We were told by Mr Vijay Goel when he was sports minister that we will get it the next day. We are still waiting for the day,” CABI president Mahantesh GK quipped.

Jadeja agreed that one way out could be the BCCI assimilating CABI and taking charge of its administration. “But in the last couple of years, you don't know who is the BCCI. I have my own battles with them but it's unfortunate that it has become everyone's favourite punching bag. Yes, there are a lot of things that need to change in the BCCI, things that could have been better but it has been around for a long time and done a lot of good things as well.

"Every time something goes wrong, you go back to the old people who have been part of this organisation and anything good goes to somebody who has come in in the last few months,” he said.

The blind cricket team would be leaving for Dubai on Saturday after its first two games were shifted out of co-host Pakistan because of government refusal to travel.

While the final of the tournament is scheduled to be played in Lahore, it would be shifted to Sharjah in case India reaches the title clash. “As sportspersons, we are ready to play anyone, anywhere in the world. Our boards take care of things like security, we only focus on the game,” captain Ajay Reddy said.