The Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium in Dharamsala, which is one of the most picturesque cricket stadiums in the world with the snow clad mountains visible from the field, is set to host the first India-South Africa T20 match on Friday. It is a perfect marriage between cricket and nature, a rareity in India.
While cricket fans in Dharamsala have been acquainted to witnessing such visuals everyday in their life, they will be more interested in the cricket in store, which is expected to be top-notch with players such as AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, MS Dhoni, Ravichandran Ashwin and Virat Kohli set to put on a mega show.
India and South Africa are going to be severely tested by the tricky conditions in Dharamsala. Fielding may be a huge problem for both the teams under lights. The Indian team have already faced some problems during their practice sessions in Dharamsala.
Hence, Suresh Raina believes toss is going to be crucial when India face South Africa for the 1st T20 international on Friday.
"Toss will play a big role in this game. It gets difficult to field under lights. When we practiced yesterday the ball was wobbling in the air. We are looking to practice our fielding under lights because the ball tends to fly off the bat," BCCI official website quoted Raina as saying.
Both the teams have some good fielders, who are going to be tested in the boundary line as the ball travels at the rate of knots in the outfield. Hence India and South Africa might have some of their best fielders with fast legs man the boundary line.
"When you are fielding at the boundary you do not get that extra yard to field because the ball is coming towards you at a fast pace."
The toss might just hand one team a slight edge over the other, but, the game of cricket, irrespective of the format, is not won over a flip of a coin. The team which delivers the goods on the day will win the game.
"Toss will make a difference but at the same time if we bowl at the right areas, we will do well," said Raina.
There is nothing to choose between India and South Africa despite the men in blue playing at home and knowing the conditions better. With the advent of Indian Premier League, foreign players have been coming to India every year and sharpening their skills of playing in the sub-continent.
"It will be a good challenge to play against South Africa and we need to respect our opponents. They are a very good side and players from both sides have played a lot of matches together in the IPL. Both sides bank on playing calm and aggressive cricket," added Raina.
"We have players who have always done well under pressure and I would say this series will be a challenging one. We need to concentrate on the process and keep things simple."