Up against them will be a group of young men who have much to prove. India and South Africa would play three T20s, five one-day internationals and four tests during a series that will begin on October 02.
Rohit, who mainly concentrated on slip catching on Wednesday with Sridhar – the fielding coach – asserted: “In the next year or two, India will become the best fielding side in the world”. The Mahatma Gandhi-Nelson Mandela series will be India’s toughest assignment yet post the 2015 World Cup campaign where they defied expectations to reach the semi-final stage. “We, as batsmen, must have faced a lot of their bowlers as well”, said the Mumbai Indians captain.
South Africa’s T20 captain Faf du Plessis today reckons that Dharamsala wicket will help seam bowlers as it carries good pace and bounce. It will be a great experience for them to play against these players under these conditions in a high pressure environment. “There’s always a fresh mind coming into things”.
Quinton de Kock’s form remained in focus as the South Africans had their first competitive cricket on their tour of India.
The South African Cricket Team will start its long and full-fledged Indian tour with a T20 warm-up game against the India A team on Sept 29, 2015.
When asked about his dreams of donning the Indian colours in worldwide cricket, he said that it was every youngsters dream to represent their country and he would rather make his performances do the talking, “My job is to perform and score runs”. The likes of Albie Morkel, Chris Morris, Tahir and Kyle Abbott have all been proven T20 performers with their variations in the shorter format having plied their trade in Indian Premier League.
“Over the years, they have been a consistent team, not just in T20 but in all the three formats. We would like to stick to our strengths rather than looking at their side and what they are doing”, said the 28-year-old.
The India squad for first T20: Shikhar Dhawan, Ravichandran Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Virat Kohli, Ambati Rayudu, Ajinkya Rahane, Sreenath Aravind, Rohit Sharma, Harbhajan Singh, Stuart Binny, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni. So it’s no surprise that the hosts are going into this three-match T20 worldwide series against South Africa, starting Friday, without a proper fast bowler. “We have practiced really hard over the last two days and we have focused a lot on the fielding and catching”. Both teams are at an advantage and disadvantage. “It is a win-win situation for us, although World T20 is important for us, this is an opportunity for us to look in to other options as well”.
South Africa come to India with plenty at stake. “They travel better than any other team, and their record shows that”, Shastri said ahead of the series.