Kolkata: Former captain Sourav Ganguly on Tuesday rated Mohammed Shami ahead of the experienced Zaheer Khan as he said the young pacer would be India’s “best” as they begin a tough two-match Test series against South Africa in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
“I’ve seen Zaheer, Srinath in top form… But there are very few bowlers like Shami to have such a right mix of the seam position, the length and pace. I feel Shami will start the series as our best bowler even ahead of Zaheer Khan,” Ganguly said here.
“His seam position, length has been fantastic. It’s a completely different Shami,” Ganguly said of the Bengal pacer who took nine wickets in his debut Test vs the West Indies in Kolkata, in Sachin Tendulkar’s farewell series.
Shami was incidentally the leading wicket taker with nine from three matches in India’s 0-2 rout by the Proteas in the recently concluded ODI series.
Ganguly was of the opinion that Shami has the golden opportunity to seal his place for India by putting up a good show in seam-friendly South African conditions.
“Shami has got the ability to be successful for a long period of time.
“We won’t get a better bowling condition than this. Zaheer is making a comeback. He needs a bit of time. It’s a big opportunity to create an impact in fast bowling conditions,” he said.
As they will go into the series without playing any practice match, it would be tough for the Indians and Ganguly said it would be the batsmen who would be the key for them to win matches.
“When they lost the first two ODIs, I felt they were not able to acclimatise to the conditions. They will have to play the Test without any practice match. Despite the talented line-up, it will be tough to play. It won’t be easy. “In five-day cricket, there’ll be more terror of the fast bowling. Only the Indian batting will determine the outcome of the attack.”
“Being a former captain, I don’t want to predict the scoreline. I don’t want to say anything. India will have a very difficult task. The key will be to create a mental frame of mind. Otherwise it will be difficult.” (PTI)