Players pipe up for India tour

2013-10-02 16:00
Virat Kohli (AFP)
Cape Town - Whether their views will carry any weight in solving the impasse is debatable, but players from both the Indian and South African national teams have started to speak their minds about the tottering summer series between the two on our shores.

There is still a worrisome silence from both the Indian governing body, the BCCI, and Cricket South Africa over the fate of the supposedly main-event 2013/14 tour, which is threatened either with serious curtailment at the insistence of the BCCI, or even outright cancellation which would have particularly immense financial ramifications for cricket in South Africa.

But now players are speaking out gradually in India itself: domestic newspaper The Times of India on Wednesday quoted both Virat Kohli (India) and the Proteas’ Alviro Petersen – who has been in the country competing for the Lions in the Champions League Twenty20 tournament – in separate stories on the topic.

Kohli, who is a staple fixture in Indian limited-overs sides but is yet to play South Africa during his 18-Test career, emphasised how keen their fast-regrouping five-day side was to tackle the No 1-ranked South Africans in their own backyard.

"We are looking forward to the (SA) tour; I think that it will set the standard for our young team to go forward," the 24-year-old was quoted as saying.

"Hopefully we get to play some games there – I am not somebody who can (make) a call.

"All we can do is be prepared if a decision comes.

"We had this tour in mind for a long time ... let’s see how things work out."

Meanwhile Petersen, who shortly represents the Proteas on their two-Test trip to the United Arab Emirates to play Pakistan, said: "Personally, I would like to see a long tour taking place.

"It’s nice to play against India as it’s a battle between two top teams.

"A lot of people want to see it ... and I enjoy that rivalry.

"To play against India is always a fascinating challenge as they have got some brilliant players and there’s always new guys coming through.

"A couple of years back when India toured us, it was all about young Kohli, and now it’s Shikhar Dhawan."

The left-handed Dhawan hit the headlines in August when he blasted a fairytale 248 in a 50-overs contest for India A against their South African counterparts in Pretoria.

Petersen made his Test debut against India in February 2010, scoring a century at Kolkata.

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing


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