Virat Kohli can step into Sachin Tendulkar's shoes: Allan Donald

Former South African speedster Allan Donald feels the current Indian team won't be scared to play on fast and bouncy pitches. He picks out Mohammed Shami as a special bowler.

Updated: December 03, 2013 00:20 IST
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Allan Donald has paid a massive tribute to Mahendra Singh Dhoni's young Team India saying this is an outfit that can look the opponent in the eye. Unlike previous Indian squads which found pace and bounce difficult to handle, Donald feels the current team will not be intimidated by South African pitches and their traditional bounce and pace. (Adjusting to South African conditions will be tough for Indians, says Omar Henry)

Speaking to DNA, Donald, now a TV commentator, said: "The best thing I like about India now is that they have hardened up. They are no more that team that used to come to South Africa and were left intimidated by our pitches -- the bounce and the pace. The difference is in their approach. They have a killer instinct going and a lot of young blood has changed perceptions." (Mahendra Singh Dhoni hints he will miss Gautam Gambhir in South Africa)

India arrived in Johannesburg on Monday for a three-ODI and two-Test series. The series, drastically curtailed due to a myriad of administrative issues between the Indian cricket Board and its South African counterpart, will be a mouth-watering affair with India as the world's leading ODI team and South Africa, No. 1 in the ICC Test rankings. Donald reckons this India team must be treated with great respect and had the ability to live with a Sachin Tendulkar. (Zaheer Khan needs express pace to be effective, says Fanie de Villiers)

Virat Kohli, of course, will be the man in the spotlight. Many see the prolific Kohli, the No. 1 ODI batsman in the world, as the man to fill Tendulkar's big shoes and Donald is no different. "Look how well Virat Kohli is playing. I feel Kohli seems to step into the shoes Sachin left behind. I know it is impossible to replace a legend like him but Kohli has been amazing. His recent records speak about his talent," Donald said. (We will fight fire with fire in South Africa, says MS Dhoni)

With more than 600 international wickets, Donald was known for lethal pace and his run-ins with the world's best batsmen. Known as White Lighting, Donald feels Indian bowlers are well equipped to exploit the conditions in South Africa. The 47-year-old former star picks out Mohammed Shami Ahmed for special mention and says with a white Kookaburra ball in his hand, "he will run in hard." Donald said: "I am really impressed with Mohammad Shami. He looks like a tough guy. He executes the swing pretty good." (The rise and rise of Mohammed Shami in his own words)

Backing Zaheer Khan for his rich experience, Pune Warriors coach Donald says Bhuvneshwar Kumar will be a handful too. "He can reverse the ball both ways and they can be handy. If he generates some bounce, he will do good in South Africa," said Donald. Considering Donald's analysis, it will be foolish to say India will go in as the underdogs. With their batsmen in prime form, India's bowlers will be no punching bags. (AB de Villiers banks on seamers to take down India)

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