South African captain Faf du Plessis made his intentions clear here on Thursday when he said he and his team had a “score to settle with India.”
Du Plessis, who has earned much respect for his leadership qualities, said, “I don’t know when the next Test series against India is, but it’s probably the last time all of us play against India and there’s no better way than playing a series in South Africa.
"We were disappointed the last time when the pitches in India were extreme and we’ve got a score to settle.”
'One of the hardest Test selections'
Du Plessis noted he would ideally want a “quick pitch that nips around the wicket and eliminate spin as much as possible.” He also gave respect to the Indian pace pack when he said, “You don’t want excessive seam movement because that brings both bowling attacks into the game. We feel with our seam resources, on a wicket that has some pace and bounce, we can exploit those areas in their batting line-up.”
On the pitch here at Newlands, du Plessis said, “The wicket looks good like it’s going to be a good cricket wicket. Nothing extreme.”
Du Plessis admitted that the selection for the Test was “one of the hardest we are going to have to make, there are just too many combinations.”
Steyn best in the world
He highlighted Dale Steyn’s qualities as a match-winning paceman. “For me, he is the best bowler in the world. He hasn’t played for a while and he hasn’t got the overs under his legs that he would have wanted. But facing Dale in the nets, the skill feels like it hasn’t gone anywhere.
"He has got the same pace and the same swing. Skill-wise it’s like he has just jumped back on that bicycle and is riding again.”
Not looking at Virat
The South African captain was not willing to see the series as a rivalry between him and Virat Kohli.
"I see the series as South Africa against India. We don’t look at Virat. He doesn’t get more time than any of the other batters. He is a very good player. His stats don’t lie. I am not going to tell you what the plans are. We are hoping we can put some pressure on him. If we can keep him quiet, we have a much better chance.”
Asked about the two batting mainstays for South Africa, AB de Villers and Hashim Amla, du Plessis said, “de Villiers has had a good break, looks fresh and hungry. Hashim has been among runs that is good for us."