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November 10, 2005
"I believe the team should do quite well in India," Cullinan, previous claimant of South Africa's highest individual Test score, told News24.com. "Many of them have been there before, and they will be able to help the players who haven't been there. It's a pity that they don't have time for more warm-up matches, but they must just make the most of the warm-up matches they do have, as well as the practice facilities."
As a batsman, Cullinan averaged 41.14 in the subcontinent as compared to 32.99 overall, and his advice to the South African team was to be patient and the runs would come. "Big hitters can do well there, so Justin Kemp should have an important role to play," he said. He also predicts that AB de Villiers, his former Nashua Titans team-mate, would have a successful career in both Test and limited overs cricket, even though the opener struggled in the recently concluded one-day series against New Zealand. "He's too good a player not to come right," said Cullinan. "He needs to be a bit more cautious, and less aggressive. "I think he's possibly trying too hard at the moment, but I have no doubt that he will come right. Perhaps he needs to play more Test cricket at this stage. But I believe he will have an outstanding career in both forms of the game."
On South Africa's decision to include Johan Botha, the uncapped fast-turned-spin bowler, in a squad that will be up against the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Virender Sehwag, Cullinan was circumspect but thought it a brave move. "He is going to have to have nerves of steel - he could either be a spectacular success or a calamitous failure. He will also need all the support of the rest of the team. India is an unforgiving place to launch an international career," he said. "I just hope the spinners are treated properly, and used when spin is warranted, and not just because they are there. I think perhaps the selection of a young player like Botha highlights our desperation to develop some spin bowlers before the World Cup in 2007."
The first match of the series will be played in Hyderabad on November 16.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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