Graeme Smith
DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 30: Graeme Smith of South Africa celebrates after the series win during day 5 of the 2nd Test match between South Africa and India at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead on December 30, 2013 in Durban, South Africa. (Photo by Duif du Toit/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

India’s tour of South Africa is less than a month away and former South African captain Graeme Smith feels that the African pace battery will trouble the famed Indian batting lineup has warned the Indian batsmen about the hostile conditions in the rainbow nation. India is currently ranked World number one in Tests have had a dominant season at home winning nine Test series in a row and now have an exciting assignment ahead as they face World’s number two Test side at their den.

Graeme Smith
DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA – DECEMBER 30: Graeme Smith of South Africa celebrates after the series win during day 5 of the 2nd Test match between South Africa and India at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead on December 30, 2013, in Durban, South Africa. (Photo by Duif du Toit/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Smith feels that the hosts will be motivated after losing the away series 0-3 couple of seasons ago. South Africa have a reinforced bowling attack with Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel making a comeback to the Test side. They will be accompanied by Kagiso Rabada who did pretty well in the absence of the senior fast bowlers. AB De Villiers has also returned to the Test squad after being on a break from Tests for a year.

Dale Steyn
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Smith said:

 “I think South Africa will be very strong. With AB de Villiers coming back, their batting looks a lot stronger. The bowling too is really powerful. They have got four really outstanding experienced pacers to choose from and couple of young pacers as well. Eventually, I think they will only go with three seamers and a spinner (in Keshav Maharaj) and six batters with Quinton de Kock at seven. That will be their batting line-up and I think that is a powerful one.”

Smith also believes that India’s best chance to win a Test will be the first Test in Cape Town as the wicket at Newlands is expected to have slow bounce and might favour the spinners. He said:

 “I think Cape Town will be India’s best chance. In South Africa, it is not so much about the moving ball, it is the extra bounce that creates a challenge. Cape Town has had a good drought. I expect the wicket to not do too much and have slow bounce and take a little bit of spin as the games goes on. Up in Pretoria (second Test) and Johannesburg (third), it is going to be the biggest challenge for the Indian team.”   

Virat Kohli
India’s Virat Kohli bats and South Africa’s AB de Villiers watches during Day 4 of the second and final Cricket Test Match between India and South Africa at the SAHARA Stadium , Kingsmead in Durban on December 29 , 2013. AFP PHOTO / ANESH DEBIKY (Photo credit should read ANESH DEBIKY/AFP/Getty Images)

The Indian team, on the other hand, has been preparing for the tour scheduled to begin from 5th January by having green pitches which support swing and bounce in the current series against Sri Lanka and Smith feels that India’s best chance in the series will be if the batsmen manage to score big runs:

“I think the big challenge for India will be scoring runs. If they can post big totals, they have a good batting line-up, then they will be able to put South Africa under pressure. I think it is going to be a cracking series. There are exciting players on both sides. I think world cricket needs an exciting Test series and it is shaping up to be one of those.” 

Smith believes that Kohli and Pujara will be the key batsmen for the visitors as they were amongst the runs the last time India toured to the African nation:

“Pujara and Kohli will be the key batsmen. These are the two players who played well the last time so they will be the key.” 

Mohammed Shami
India’s Mohammed Shami (L) appeals against South Africa’s Robin Peterson (C) on the fourth day of the second and final cricket Test match between India and South Africa at the Sahara Stadium Kingsmead in Durban on December 29, 2013. AFP PHOTO / ANESH DEBIKY (Photo credit should read ANESH DEBIKY/AFP/Getty Images)

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He also spoke about the Indian pace battery as they will have to bowl long spells:

 “If India are going to be successful then their three seamers would need to bowl really well. It is a bit of an unknown though, everyone is talking about the Indian seamers. I think the difference is going to be about spells. In India they bowl short spells and try and make an impact but in South Africa they will have to carry a lot more responsibility under pressure, bowl long spells. The seamers will have to win the game for India. It is a very different mindset than what you have in the subcontinent and it remains to be seen if they can carry that and handle responsibility.”

Prabhangad Singh

Ardent Sports lover, Cricket fanatic, Manchester United fan(GGMU), Roger Federer over Rafael Nadal