India are set to host South Africa for a four-match Test series with the first Test scheduled in Mohali on 5 November.
India have always been a strong side at home, but their recent losses in the ODI and T20 series makes us feel otherwise. However, players like MS Dhoni, who captained India during the losses, believes the Test matches are a completely different affair and the results of the ODI and the T20 losses will not bother the men in blue.
Virat Kohli, who took over the reins from MS Dhoni after the Jharkhand lad called it quits late last year, has been aggressive in his captaincy as was witnessed in the last Test series against Sri Lanka. India registered a historic series win against Sri Lanka as they won in the island nation after a gap of 22 years.
A similar kind of a performance is expected from the men in blue against South Africa at home, but the task is not going to be easy with South Africa being the number one Test side in the world. West Indies cricketer Chris Gayle believes irrespective of what transpired between the two sides in coloured clothing last month, India are a tough side to beat at home.
"They are home and it should be even-stevens to be honest with you. It is very difficult to beat India at home regardless of whatever may have happened in the last ODI series. South Africa are a confident side as well. But, in the last Test series India played was outside and they won. So, at home they should do actually better," NDTV quoted Gayle as saying.
The result of the series may well depend on the performance of Indian spinners such as Ravichandran Ashwin and Amit Mishra. However, India are sweating it out regarding the fitness of Ashwin, who suffered a side strain in the first ODI against South Africa. Ashwin has been out of action ever since, but currently the spinner is training with the team.
If Ashwin is declared unfit for the first Test, Mishra needs to shoulder the responsibility, which is going to be a daunting task. However, Ravindra Jadeja might play as the second spinner in the team and carry his stupendous Ranji trophy form with the ball into the Test series. Jadeja took 38 wickets in his last four Ranji matches.
"I think they have quality spinners here in India to be honest with you. Things might not go according to plan and lot of questions might be raised but they have quality spinners here for sure," added Gayle.
Apart from the spinners, the Indian seamers including Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma, should also play their part in the Test series. However, Ishant Sharma will not feature in the first Test due to suspension.