Maharaj up for India challenge
Ahead of last year’s tour to Sri Lanka, Maharaj was full of compliments for the now-retired Rangana Herath. Maharaj waxed lyrical about the left-arm spinner and how he was keen to learn from the veteran.
By the completion of the two-match series Maharaj had claimed 16 wickets, including career-best figures 9/129 in the first innings of the second Test in Colombo.
Now in India, for the upcoming series against the World No 1 team starting in Visaskhapatnam tomorrow, the Proteas left-armer is full of appreciation for the hosts’ lethal duo Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin.
“Look at Jadeja and Ashwin. Ashwin has got a lot of variations and Jadeja keeps it simple but the key is consistency and that make it uncomfortable for the batsmen. I want to emulate that going forward and do my job from one end,” Maharaj said yesterday.
But while spin will undoubtedly play a dominant role in the series because “you expect the ball to turn in the sub-continent”, Maharaj believes that the pace bowlers cannot be discounted.
The Proteas may no longer have their leading wicket-taker Dale Steyn at their disposal, and will surely miss the retired fast bowler’s feats with the old ball that he famously showed off in Nagpur back in 2012, but Maharaj claims the visitors still have the resources to exploit any reverse-swing should it be on offer.
“Reverse swing will be key. Every bowling unit everywhere in the world likes to utilise it, if reverse swing is available. India have got strong bowlers including Mohammad Shami, who is unplayable at times. If it starts to reverse, then we have also got amazing bowlers, who can utilise the conditions.
“We do have players who will fulfil that role,” he said. “We’ve got a world-class bowler in Vernon (Philander) and KG (Kagiso Rabada) and Lungi (Ngidi) has come through.”
In fact, India will also be without their talisman Jasprit Bumrah and Maharaj is hoping the Proteas batsmen can capitalise after enjoying a solid workout in the warm-up game.
“It was important that our batters got some time in the middle. They have been working on how to tackle Indian conditions and it is nice to get a hit.
"I think Temba (Bavuma) has taken the responsibility of ensuring that in the practise game.”