India steamrolled hosts South Africa in the opening Test at the SuperSport Park in Centurion to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. The focus now shifts to Johannesburg where the second Test starts from Monday onwards. A win there and India would seal their first-ever series triumph in South Africa. The manner in which India outplayed the hosts in the opening Test, they will start as favourites to clinch that crucial win. Ahead of the second Test, coach Rahul Dravid lavished praise on Test captain Virat Kohli, saying that he has been a “credit to himself and Indian cricket despite all the noise around him”.
“He has been a credit to himself and Indian cricket over the last 2 weeks despite all the noise there has been around him,” Dravid said in a pre-match virtual press conference.
Before the start of the South Africa series, Kohli’s comments about being replaced as ODI captain and his conversations with the selectors went viral, threatening to derail India’s preparations for the South Africa tour.
However, Dravid applauded Kohli for maintaining his focus and also praised him for keeping the team’s morale high.
“I know there has been a lot of noise on other issues. A little bit outside of the group even leading to this particular Test match. You know honestly in terms of keeping the morale high its not been very difficult because to be honest it has been led by the skipper himself,” said the former India skipper.
“I think Virat has been absolutely phenomenal over the last 20 days that we have been here. I think the way he has trained, the way he has practiced, the way he has connected with the group.”
Dravid said that Kohli has been “phenomenal” in the way he has captained the team.
“What you are looking to do as a coach, as a support staff, we are really looking to prepare well and get the team into a really good space. You know Virat has been phenomenal in that, the way he has led the team. He has been absolutely truly a leader. I couldn’t speak more highly about him the way he has committed to his own preparation and own practice,” said Dravid.
India have never won a Test series in South Africa in their entire history but have a golden opportunity to set the record straight.
Indian pacers were on fire in the opening Test and expectations will once again be high, with the Wanderers stadium aiding fast bowlers in the past.
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