Wessels: ‘India will bring back Rahane for the next two Tests’

The former South African captain said to Sportstar at the Newlands on Sunday, “I was surprised when Rahane was dropped for this Test. I know he has not scored a lot of runs lately. But he has the game, has played well in South Africa before. I am sure they will bring him back for the next two Tests.

In 40 Tests, representing Australia and then South Africa, Kepler Wessels scored 2788 runs at a creditable 41.00 in the days of bowler friendly tracks and fearsome fast bowlers of the 80s and the early 90s.   -  K. Pichumani

Kepler Wessels believes India will recall Ajinkya Rahane for the second and third Tests of the series.

The former South African captain said to Sportstar at the Newlands on Sunday, “I was surprised when Rahane was dropped for this Test. I know he has not scored a lot of runs lately. But he has the game, has played well in South Africa before. I am sure they will bring him back for the next two Tests.

Known for his courageous approach at the top of the order, Wessels said, “If you are not brave and gutsy while facing the South African attack on these type of surfaces, you are not going to score runs.”

In 40 Tests, representing Australia and then South Africa, the left-handed Wessels scored 2788 runs at a creditable 41.00 in the days of bowler friendly tracks and fearsome fast bowlers of the 80s and the early 90s.

He felt the Indian batsmen had to blend caution with aggression on the surfaces here. “You need to leave the ball well outside the off-stump and have a solid defence. And you got to mix defence with attack.”

Wessels called Indian “an evolving side,” and said, “They have a good pace attack, this is a good sign especially while playing away from home. Their top-order didn’t do well in the first innings here but has the potential to do better.”

He had a word of caution for the visitor though. “Going forward, it could get harder for India. The surfaces at Centurion and at the Wanderers are quicker.”

Highlighting India’s lack of preparation for the series, he said, “It is not easy to come here from the sub-continent and straightaway get used to the pace, bounce and seam movement.”

Wessels was impressed by Hardik Pandya’s aggressive innings here. “The good thing about that effort for India is the message it sent to the others in the Indian team. He took the attack to the South African bowlers. I also thought he bowled well.”

The South African said Ishant Sharma could be valuable for India in the remaining two Tests. “Ishant, with his height, could be a factor at the Centurion and at the Wanderers.”

On Faf du Plessis’s captaincy, Wessels weighed in, “He is a very good all-round captain, very good tactically, good motivator.”

Turning his attention to Virat Kohli, Wessels observed, “Kohli’s biggest contribution to the team will be to score runs. That will give a lot of confidence to the team.”

He was saddened by injury ruling Dale Steyn out of the rest of the series. “Dale is probably the best bowler South Africa has ever produced. I love watching him bowl. I just want to see him back against Australia.”

Queried about pacemen bowling short at tail-enders, Wessels said, “Fair enough, it is a hard game.”

And that’s the way the tough-as-nails Wessels played his cricket.