In November 1991, when South Africa returned to international cricket, Mohammad Azharuddin was part of the historic series. He was India's captain in the three-ODI series.
Now, after 26 years, as the Proteas host India in a three-Test series starting tomorrow (January 5) in Cape Town, Azharuddin talks about Virat Kohli-led side's chances.
The 54-year-old Azharuddin, who played 99 Tests and 334 ODIs, is one of the few Indian batsmen to have scored a Test century in South Africa. He was also the skipper when India toured South Africa for the first time in 1992-93.
Today (January 4), in an exclusive interview with International Business Times, India, Azharuddin spoke about the Indian Test team, Kohli, comparisons between current and past Indian sides and also on who is the best batsman of current era.
Question: What are India's chances of winning the Test series against South Africa?
Mohammad Azharuddin: If we bat well, we have a very good chance (to win the series). Because the wickets will suit South African bowlers as well as Indian bowlers too. This time we have a very good bowling attack. If we bat well, we will be able to really do well.
Q: Virat Kohli holds the key for India's batting performance. Do you agree?
Azharuddin: He is the key batsman but everybody has to rally around him because you can't put too much pressure on him. He is human, he can also fail. At the end of the day, everybody has to do well.
Q: You were India's first captain when South Africa returned to international cricket in 1991. What are your memories and thoughts on the team?
Azharuddin: A very competitive side. They have come a very long way (since readmission to international cricket). They were out of cricket for so many years but still produced so many great players.
Q: Many say the current Indian side, led by Virat Kohli is the best. Do you agree?
Azharuddin: Every era had a different team. I don't really like comparing sides.
Q: A lot has been spoken about comparisons between Kohli and Australian captain Steve Smith. Who is the best between the two?
Azharuddin: I think Steve Smith's record is also good. But if you look at all three formats, Virat has really done well. I think both are best at the moment.