Ab de Villiers is one of my favourite cricketers. Because I feel he’s the South African version of Rahul Dravid. There was one match where he reached his half century and in celebration he lifted his bat to acknowledge the dressing room in a cursory manner that showed he would rather celebrate his team winning. He was so engrossed in the task of chasing that he almost missed his teammate coming up the pitch to congratulate him. Dale Steyn is by far one of the coolest bowlers that had to have walked this earth. The dragon/snake tattoo that creeps up in the peripheral vision of every batsman facing him must scare them more than the speeding red/white bullet that comes out of his hand. And the sheer pace he generates along with the comedic tweets makes for a rather interesting character.
I can go on and describe why South Africa are an intriguing team to watch because while they have so many amazing and brilliant players individually (Hashim Amla, Morne Morkel, Graeme Smith, JP Duminy, David Miller, Faf du Plessis, ABD, Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Vernon Philander, Robin Peterson) their ethos as a team is interesting. They succeed in bi-lateral and multi-lateral series but seem to crumble under the big stage pressure. They cannot be considered as small pickings. So you can imagine my excitement and joy when I heard that the BCCI (who have dragged their own name through the mud, for reasons known to them only) have agreed to 2 Tests and 3 ODIs in what promises to be a thoroughly battling and fighting contest between the two teams.
Having played alongside each other for a small part of the past 6 years in the IPL, both sides will know something about their counterparts that will turn the game in their favour. Coupled with bouncy and fast pitches plus the no. 1 Test side proving their worth, I wonder if cricket teams should simply have the last say on the tours that they go for! Granted, some of the reasons that the BCCI were apprehensive seemed legit at first what with CSA jumping the gun and announcing the schedule and Lorgat, who rankled top BCCI brass with his actions as an ICC exec during the 2011 WC, being appointed as CSA chairman. But then the fight dragged on way too long what with waiting for Srini to be cleared by the Indian Supreme Court and then meetings to take place for this news to be revealed.
Most Indian fans, if not all, were eagerly looking forward to this tournament. A fresh looking side, winning the Champions Trophy in England against all odds (literally), and being thrust into the hells that await them in the African continent will surely serve up some delicious cricket. While the no. of Tests to be played is still in dispute, I’m rather glad to have another opportunity to watch the new and improved Indian side battle it out as they begin their tour abroad! With the Ashes in Australia going on at the same time, we are certainly spoiled for choice this November-December!