The Indian team is in for a big test at home in October and November as the men in blue host South Africa for 3 T20s, 5 ODIs and 4 Test matches. The series is poised to be be a nerve-racking one. Both teams have big players in their squads, which makes it an even more interesting affair.
For India, Ajinkya Rahane, who has cemented his place in the Test side, will be a crucial batsmen, irrespective of the batting order. Rahane batted at No. 3 in the recently-concluded, three Test India-Sri Lanka series, barring the first Test match where he was asked to bat at No. 5.
Rahane is also a key member of the ODI and the T20 side and has batted at various positions in these formats as well.
"I'm lucky I've batted at every number and performed in every slot. I look at this positively. It helps me learn every day," Rahane said in an interview with The Times of India.
As far as the Test series goes, the elegant right-hander, in all likelihood, will bat at No. 3, especially after a brilliant century against Sri Lanka in the second Test match.
However, the going won't be easy for him, with Dale Steyn, one of the best bowlers in the world, set to give a tough time to him.
"It will be a challenge to play South Africa, to face their bowling led by Steyn. We played well in SA last time. It's an opportunity for us to play the same brand of cricket we've played in Lanka and in the last two years," said Rahane.
It has been a long time since India played at home, with the last match played against the Lankans in November last year. India have always been a formidable side when playing at home, given the familiar conditions.
South Africa, who are not known for their spin-playing ability, will have to bat their way out of trouble against the confident spin duo of India –Amit Mishra and Ravichandran Ashwin.
"It will be exciting. It feels great because conditions are familiar and the home crowd backs you. I'm just focusing on my preparations so the match situation becomes easy. The challenge for me is to perform with the same intensity and attitude as I did abroad," said Rahane.
South Africa will be eager to come up with a better performance against India after failing to win the ODI series in Bangladesh in July this year. They won the T20 series and managed to draw the Test series against Bangladesh.