A 17-member Indian team left for South Africa on Wednesday (December 27) amid sky-high expectations. No Indian team in the past has won a series in South Africa, but Virat Kohli's men are tipped to buck the trend and create history.
India are heading to South Africa with a lot of confidence after their dominant run at home over the last two seasons. Notably, the world number one Test side has won nine consecutive Test series since August 2015.
However, the upcoming three Test series, starting January 5, in South Africa is expected to be a stiff test for the Asian giants, who are embarking on their first major overseas tour since the 2014-15 tour to Australia.
Indian batsmen, including legendary names, have struggled in the past in South African tracks, which offer a lot of pace and bounce. As Kohli conceded in the pre-departure press conference, Indian batsmen need to be mentally strong to tackle the South African attack, especially the home side's quality pace battery.
Most challenging bowling attack
As it turns out, India's premier limited-overs batsman Rohit Sharma seems to be wary of the threat South African attack can pose. The in-form right-hander, who is expected to play at No. 6 for India, has picked three bowlers who he thinks can trouble the visiting side.
"Their bowling attack is the most challenging [one] in the world right now. Any home team tends to put a lot of pressure on the touring side," Rohit told Hindustan Times.
He added: "It will be [Kagiso] Rabada, [Dale] Steyn, and one between [Vernon] Philander and [Morne] Morkel. They might play also an all-rounder like Chris Morris."
Notably, South Africa sent a warning notice to India by decimating Zimbabwe within two days in the first-ever four-day Test earlier this week in Port Elizabeth.
Morkel, Rabada, Philander, Andile Phehlukwayo and Keshav Maharaj were among the wickets as the hosts crushed their African rivals by an innings and 20 runs despite posting only 309 on the board.
Rohit talks about comeback men AB de Villiers, Steyn
Meanwhile, Rohit is also confident that AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn will be back to their best in the upcoming series. Notably, the two have not been a regular presence in the South African squad due to injury concerns.
While De Villiers returned to captain South Africa against Zimbabwe after a 22-month absence from the longest form of the game, Steyn is expected to feature in the Cape Town Test, which will be his first appearance in whites since November 2016.
"Steyn had a shoulder surgery, he is playing after almost an year... that is a long lay-off. (But) with his experience I do not think there will be a problem," Rohit said.
He added: "Obviously, all eyes will be on him and de Villiers as they have not played much of late."