Virat Kohli
India must be on top of their game against the touring South African side.Reuters

With two heavyweights of world cricket--South Africa and India--set for a big series starting next month, the quality of cricket in the offing is expected to be top-notch.

Both the teams have some big guns in their ranks, which includes the likes of Dale Steyn, AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla for South Africa and Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, MS Dhoni, Ravichandran Ashwin amongst others for India. There is nothing to choose between the two teams, though India, playing in home conditions, may have a slight edge over their rivals.

Former South African great Barry Richards believes it is going to be a closely fought series.

"I reckon it will be a closely-fought series where a Steyn five-for or an AB special or a Kohli century would turn the tide. South Africa would obviously not give an inch but they will have a tough task at hand since India at home are a formidable unit," Richards told The Times of India in an interview.

There are several head-to-head contest, such as Kohli vs Steyn, de Villiers vs Ashwin, which just makes the series even more interesting and takes the game to another level when these stars are in the thick of action. Kohli, who has been India's main batsman in the last couple of years, has to be on top of his game against the Proteas' number one bowler.

"Virat Kohli has been in good nick of late, and Dale Steyn knows the conditions well in India. However, it will be up to the pitches that are provided during the series. If Steyn gets the type of pitches where there is a bit of bounce, then it could be a good contest," said Richards.

The South African team for the series has already been announced, while India's team will be announced on Sunday. South Africa have gone ahead with three spinners this time around, though their pace battery is going to be crucial against India who are master players of spin.

Richards is positive with the team that has been picked for the series and believes they have quality batsmen and good bowling unit as well.

"I see a lot of quality in this South African team. They have some fine batsmen such as AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla in their ranks and it's a good all-round bowling unit too," said the South African legend.

The countdown to the mega India-South Africa series has already started with the first T20 match of the series slated for October 2. India host South Africa for 3 T20s, 5 ODIs and 4 Test matches.