Graeme Smith    Getty Images
Graeme Smith Getty Images

With the India-Sri Lanka ongoing limited overs turning out to be a quite a snoozefest, all eyes are on India’s tour of South Africa. The tour will commence from January 5 with both sides locking horns at Cape Town series opener of the three Tests. Former South Africa captain Graeme Smith led Proteas to a 1-0 series victory when both teams squared off in their last Test series in the African nation. Smith believes South Africa’s well oiled-side will be strong for India. In addition, he spoke about Cape Town being India’s biggest chance in the upcoming Tests.

Why do you back South Africa?

“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,” said Smith.

Smith, however, feels India needs to start well. Their best chance would be in Cape Town, wherein there won’t be much of a movement. Smith added that Pretoria and Johannesburg venue for second and third Test respectively will be a tough venue for visitors.

“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 and Johannesburg, it is going to be the biggest challenge for the Indian team,” affirmed Smith.

‘I think world cricket needs an exciting Test series and it is shaping up to be one of those’

“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.

(Cheteshwar) Pujara and (Virat) Kohli will be the key batsmen. These are the two players who played well the last time so they will be the key.

Do You Remember: Pujara scored 153 and Kohli notched up 119 in the first of the two-Tests in 2013.

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,” told Smith.

What will be the difference for India pacers in South Africa?

“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,” concluded the former South African.