Johannesburg, Dec 23 (IANS) South Africa pacer Duanne Olivier said that the upcoming three-match Test series against India will be exciting despite being tough at the same time.
The right-arm seamer added that he will be ready for the challenge to bowl to the Indian batting order, especially against captain Virat Kohli. The three-match Test series between India and South Africa begins from December 26 at SuperSport Park in Centurion.
“For me, it’s probably the biggest series I will play so, if selected, there will be those pressures. We’re playing against world class players but at the same time, it’s an exciting challenge. Like, I’ll need to bowl to (Virat) Kohli. It will be tough, but it’s exciting. We’ll be bowling to probably the top four batters in the world,” said Olivier in an interview to Cricket South Africa (CSA).
Olivier believes that he would like to set the tone from word go. “It’s like making a statement to them. We are here to compete. We are not just going to roll over. For me, that is very important: throwing the first punch, to know that you are here, you are present.”
Olivier, back in the national set-up after his Kolpak deal with county side Yorkshire in 2019 ended due to Brexit, is aware of the importance the series against India brings to his team. “If we come out on top, it will mean a lot for South Africa in general, for Cricket South Africa and for players, because it’s like a make-or-break series for players. If you do well against a top team in the world, it says something.”
The 29-year-old admitted he will be nervous if he is picked in the playing eleven for the first Test, especially after Anrich Nortje was ruled out of the series due to a persistent hip injury. “I am a nervous person when it comes to playing. Wherever I play I am always nervous. If it’s my first over, I am very nervous. I’ll have a different feeling this time. Maybe it might be similar to a debut because I haven’t played for three years. It will be interesting to see what the nerves will be like but I am sure, if I am selected to play, I think my nerves will be shot through the roof.”
Olivier signed off by saying that he understands that talks of him turning his back on the national team will persist. “I know people will have mixed feelings about it, but at the end of the day, it’s okay. You handle that and you deal with those pressures or the criticism that comes with that.”
“I haven’t been here for three years. So, it’s a long time and it’s special for any person to play for the country. You reconnect those relationships with people you have played three years ago. You get to know everyone at a different level. At the end of the day, the job is to keep things simple.”