Robin Peterson: 'Playing in India a tough challenge'

Peterson picked India and England as the favourites for the World Cup

Robin Peterson is in India as a spin consultant for South Africa's under-19 team.   -  M.R. Praveen Chandran

Robin Peterson vividly remembers that balmy March night in Nagpur when he creamed Ashish Nehra through the covers to give South Africa a last gasp win over India in a 2011 World Cup league match. Peterson's seven-ball 18 hurtled the eventual champion India to its only defeat in the tournament while his team suffered its infamous 'choke' to lose to New Zealand in the quarterfinals. 

"Beating India in India at Nagpur was the closest we came to perfection in terms of chasing a big total under pressure. That should rank as my favourite cricketing moment though I don't have many to point to. Beating India was a cherry on top but we ended up going out of the tournament. If you ask any member of that team they would definitely say that beating India would rank as their biggest gain of that World Cup," said the 39-year-old who is here as spin consultant for South Africa's under-19 team.

Peterson picked India and England as the favourites for the World Cup and said the support India gets from its fans and presence of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav will make the difference at the back-end of the tournament. "India and England are playing the best white ball cricket at the moment and they are the favourites. The support India has and its spinners Chahal and Yadav will make the difference.

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"But I don't think England has the variety in its attack like India," he added.

Peterson, who has sufficient experience playing in the IPL in India,  said his advice to the young South African cricketers would be to maintain their fitness levels, temperament and skills consistently  to succeed in India.

"The toughest challenge in world cricket at the moment is to be successful and to win in India.  It is a test of your character,  fitness and skills. For these boys it is their first trip here and it is about how quickly you adapt and show the temperament needed to play international cricket,"he said.

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"It is tough life for a spinner against Indians who are good players of spin and they play it almost every day of their lives.  There may be periods of ascedency but as a bowler you have to show your mental toughness by hanging in there.  As a batsman you got to have good defence but you also need to be positive as you don't want spinners to bowl at you for  longer periods of time. India has quality spinners in any age group. You got to find ways of scoring runs through sweeps or whatever means you are comfortable with," he added.