As India gear up for a tough Test series against hosts South Africa starting January 5, India pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar on Sunday said bowling with the red 'Kookaburra' ball "will be a challenge" in the upcoming series. During the India's opening practice session at the Western Province Cricket Club, the Indian seamers focused on bowling multiple long spells in order to up the ante during the series. Bhuvneshwar further added that the 'Kookaburra' is the toughest ball to bowl with as it does not provide too much assistance to a bowler after 25-30 overs.
"The first thing that comes to the mind when you are touring South Africa is bouncy wickets. But that is no surety of what kind of pitch you would get in the game," Bhuvneshwar said in a media interaction.
Talking about the bouncy wicket, Bhuvneshwar said, "When it comes to batsmen there is the bounce factor. But that is a factor for the bowlers too. The 'Kookaburra' is the toughest ball to bowl with. It does not do too much after 25-30 overs, so these are the kind of situations we are trying to prepare for."
The swing specialist said the pace attack has not yet gotten down to strategising for the game and the focus is on bowling long spells.
"We have not talked so far about the strategy. The focus is on the basics. Maybe a couple of days before the first Test, we will see how to strategise according to the batsman.
"Yesterday, we did two sessions to get into the Test mode. It is a six-hour day in a Test match so we bowled twice. We wanted to bowl as long as possible," said Bhuvneshwar.
India have not won a Test series in South Africa but have been playing well over the last two years, reclaiming the number one ranking in the process. Bhuvneshwar feels their current form will give the team a good chance of improving its record in South Africa.
"Everyone is confident. We know there is a chance to win a series in South Africa but to be able to do that we know we have to give our best. We have done well in the last two years and we are confident of doing well in these conditions."
The pacer said because of the variety in their attack, there is a lot to learn from each other.
"Yes, we can pick few a things from each other. I can pick reverse swing from Umesh, Ishant and Shami and they can pick swing from me."
On bowling in South Africa, he said: "First big change is the bounce. I won't say swing so much but the bounce is something every fast bowler enjoys."
Asked to comment on the South Africa batting, which has been bolstered with the return of Ab de Villiers, Bhuvneshwar said they are not focusing on just one batsman.
"Anyone (could be a threat). All their batsmen are doing well. For us, it is all about how we do against their batsmen."
When asked, he did not have much to say on Shikhar Dhawan's injury.
"I have no update. The physio will tell you that," he added.
(With PTI inputs)