Virat Kohli’s Indians are faced with a litmus test on the South African soil. There lies a sequence of failures of the past 25 years. The success can establish this young, energetic lot as the best ever Indian Test side.
Twenty five years. 17 Tests. Six series. And, the Indians is yet to register the first Test series win on the Proteas land, where they have first landed in 1992-93 to spell of the return of international cricket to South Africa after the apartheid era.
The green top at Newlands, irrespective of the prevailing drought conditions, will throw a typical South African challenge for the Indian batting order. The batting line up, spearheaded by Kohli, is denied an opportunity to warm up and acclimatize with the hostile conditions on the tour. The line-up may also appear a pale shadow of the likes of Tendulkar, Dravid, Sehwag, Ganguly, who have failed in collectively delivering on the South African wickets over the past 25 years, six series and 17 Tests till date. With just two wins, against nine losses.
However, there is a basic shift in the balance of the bowling departments of both the teams. The hosts’ new ball attack has lost that lethal edge, and the visitors are better equipped than ever to exploit the fast, bouncy South African tracks. As coach Ravi Shastri has stressed time and again that the combination of Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Jaspreet Bhumra and Bhubaneswar Kumar backed by seasoned spin partners is capable of taking 20 wickets on any surface.
A property’s grandeur lies in its commercial success. The South Africa-India Freedom Series is an established commercial success much before the first ball is delivered. The official broadcaster in India has landed 11 on-air sponsors for the tour.
The sponsorship slots are closed at INR 85,000 for the Test series, INR 4.2 lakh for the one-day internationals and INR 5 lakh for the three-match T-20 series, a senior market source had confirmed to insidesport.co.
Sony’s marketing team has made Kohli and Company’s winning potential the unique selling point as its TV commercial indicates that the Indian contingent in white flannels are in with their best chance to settle #Hisaab 25 Saal ka.
The host cricket board is upbeat with the business response viz a viz ticket and on-ground commercial inventory sales. Seven broadcasters are waiting to cash in on Indian cricket teams on-tube salability during the high profile series.
India is the top-ranked Test team in the world after straight nine series wins. The opportunity to make it a perfect 10 is not an easy one though. However, in this success lies the tag of greatness. This Indian contingent cannot be written off easily.
The live broadcast of the 1st Test from Newlands, Cape Town, will start at 2:00 PM India time. The matches will be broadcast live on the Sony Ten 1 and Sony Ten 3 SD and HD channels. The match will also be streamed live on SonyLIV App and its website.