South Africa Test skipper Dean Elgar praised premier Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin on Tuesday. Elgar said, despite the player having not recorded much success in the South African conditions, it "was okay" for him.
Virat Kohli and Rahul Dravid-led Indian cricket team landed in Johannesburg last week for the team's upcoming 3-match series in Centurion, starting December 26 in a bid to win their first Test series in South Africa.
The visitors will face South Africa during the three Tests which will be held in Centurion, Johannesburg, and Cape Town. Team India is missing miss their newly-appointed vice-captain Rohit Sharma who has to be sidelined due to a hamstring injury. India is also without two premier left-arm spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel who also have to stay home due to injuries.
Elgar was answering a question from ANI during a virtual press conference. He said South Africa should maintain focus on all Indian players instead of only Ashwin.
“I do not think Ravichandran Ashwin has had much success in South Africa which is okay for us," said Elgar. "You cannot really compare to the success he has had against our batters in India because conditions are so different.
“We have to focus on our gameplan, each player has been working on his individual gameplan. It is important not to focus on just one player in their lineup.”
The left-handed opening batsman then went on to praise Ashwin, saying that he was one of India's best off-spinners.
“India is a good side, they tick all the boxes," Elgar added. "Ashwin is a quality bowler, probably one of the best off-spinners India have ever produced. We will be mindful of that, it will be a challenge to compete against them.”
We know it will be tough but it will be tough for the Indian batters to face our attack as well
The Test skipper further said that the Indian bowling unit would give team South Africa a hard fight. However, he also said that the Indian team would not have it easy as well.
“India has an immensely improved bowling lineup," said Elgar. "As I mentioned earlier, we will be mindful of the fact that we will be up against a very good bowling attack. Being in South Africa, we will feel a lot more accustomed to our own conditions.
“Hopefully, we can use that to our advantage. We know it will be tough but it will be tough for the India batters to face our attack as well. I'd rather be sitting here than possibly sitting in the Indian dressing room knowing they have to face our bowlers.”
The 34-year-old said there had been a lot of rain in Centurion, the first location where India will face South Africa during its tour.
“I hope the rain stays away," Elgar further explained. "There has been a lot of rain so hopefully that stays away. Centurion has been providing very good wickets. It has always been a pretty good place if you apply yourself as a batter. With the ball in hand, you can exploit the conditions if you have extra pace and bounce.
“If you apply yourself as a batter, you can score runs at Centurion. If you have some skill and you are willing to stay patient, the bowlers can also enjoy themselves at Centurion.”
Cricket South Africa recently announced on Monday that team India's tour to the rainbow country would be played without spectators due to the current situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic in the nation.
The team arrived in South Africa while the pandemic was worsening all around the world with the emergence of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. Additionally, the African nation is currently facing its fourth wave of COVID-19 mass infections.