South Africa are expected to give India a tough time for the next two months as the men in blue host the Proteas for three T20Is, five ODIs and four Test matches. Former India captain, Sourav Ganguly, believes India are always a very strong side at home, and that could prove to be the difference.
India might have an edge over South Africa because of the home conditions, but they cannot take things for granted as the Proteas are a team that travel well. With players such as Dale Steyn and AB de Villiers in their ranks, count them out at your own peril.
"South Africa series will be a competitive series. They have a good team and India has recently played well in Sri Lanka. It is a long series. I always say that at home India is always a strong side," IANS quoted Ganguly as saying.
Both teams are fairly balanced with the right mix of bowlers and batsmen. However, India are going to count on their spinners to take a major share of the wickets, while South Africa, who have brought three spinners for the series, will depend on their seamers.
Though, Imran Tahir has been doing splendidly well in the international circuit, playing against an Indian team in India is a tough ask considering the home team players have grown up playing spinners in the domestic circuit. India are said to be one of the best players of spin bowling as they are strong on both the backfoot and frontfoot.
"South Africa has bowling quality to take 20 wickets, India too has quality bowlers along with spinners in these spinning tracks. It will be a challenge for South Africa to hold on to their form for such a long tour," Ganguly said.
"Spinner Imran Tahir is such a bowler who has experience in him and he will come handy in these conditions. It will be a challenge for South Africa too as Indians are good players of spin."
India will be led by MS Dhoni in the ODI and the T20 series, while Virat Kohli will captain the team in the Test series. Ganguly has been impressed with Kohli and his captaincy, which helped India defeat Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka after a gap of 22 years.
The "prince of Kolkata" also wished Kohli all the best for the South Africa series and believes his biggest test will come when India tour abroad.
"It is also a proud moment for all to see him lead a side with such passion. I want Kohli to do better than me as a skipper. But his main challenge will be when India will tour abroad. Australia, England, South Africa will test his captaincy. All the best to him for the South Africa series," said Ganguly.