Just-retired India pacer Ashish Nehra feels the green top at the Eden Gardens here for the first Test between India and Sri Lanka will help Virat Kohli and the team to prepare for the upcoming South Africa tour starting January 2018.
“The Eden wicket is good preparation for India’s tour of South Africa. There the ball will have carry and lateral movement. This wicket is giving them a good test of roughly what lies ahead,” said Nehra, who played his T20 against New Zealand at his home ground, Ferozshah Kotla, in New Delhi on November 2.
India play three Tests, six One-Day Internationals and three T20s in South Africa starting January 5, 2018.
Asked how India would cope against the challenge of fit-again Dale Steyn who is expected to return after a one-year hiatus, and Kagiso Rabada, Nehra said: “I don’t think India will be under pressure in South Africa. I hear a lot of talk around that but if they have Steyn and Rabada, we have Kohli and he is always ready to perform against adversity.”
Nehra went on to say that Mohammed Shami was India’s answer to Steyn.
“I expect Shami to come good in South Africa. They have Dale Steyn and overall are a good bowling unit but we have Shami and he is very good too.”
Coming to the Sri Lanka Test on the green top at Eden, Nehra said nothing was lost yet and there was no need to panic.
The 38-year old, who has taken 157 wickets in 120 ODIs, opined that the par score on this wicket would be 200-220 and it would not be easy for the tourists as well when they come to bat.
India lost three top-order batsmen on a rain-affected Day 1 of the first rubber as Suranga Lakmal ran amok sending openers K.L. Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli packing. At stumps, the hosts reeled at 17/3 in 11.5 overs.
The wicket had a lot of carry and lateral movement which helped Lakmal in his act.
“It’s a good wicket. As I said, good preparation for South Africa. There is nothing to fear for India though as Sri Lanka would have to bat also. The par score would be 200-220 on this track.”