Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn
File photo of Morne Morkel and Dale SteynPeter Heeger/AFP/Getty Images

Indian batsman Rohit Sharma has said South Africa's bowling attack is more dangerous than the likes of Australia and England because of the variety they possess.

Rohit, who is part of a 17-member Indian team that landed in the Rainbow Nation last week to take on the hosts in a three-match Test series (starting January 5), said Dale Steyn and co. will be "most challenging of all challenging attacks" the Asian giants will face in the next 18 months.

Also read: India cricket schedule 2018: Complete fixtures, series and matches for Virat Kohli's team in New Year

Notably, the Virat Kohli-led Team India, which rose to the top spot in Test rankings after dominating the last two seasons at home, will be busy in the next year and a half, touring top Test nations, including the likes of England, Australia and New Zealand.

India begin 2018 with three Tests, 6 ODIs and three T20Is in South Africa -- a tour that is expected to be one of their toughest challenges.

"It's the best attack in the world. See, England and Australia can also unleash a great variety at home. But this South African attack is different and certainly the most lethal. It's not a one-dimensional attack," Rohit told the Times of India.

He added: "They have variety, experience and different skill levels. [Kagiso] Rabada is a tall guy who can hit the deck hard. Morne Morkel is the same.

"Dale Steyn has the experience to use the new and the old ball. Vernon Philander is so dangerous in SA's home conditions. He keeps bowling that length, never gives anything easy. It is the most challenging of all challenging attacks we'll be facing in the next one year."

India's poor record in South Africa

Notably, no India team has won a series in South Africa so far. An MS Dhoni-led side came close to bucking the trend when it drew a three-match series 1-1 during 2010-11 tour. However, the Asian giants were beaten 1-0 the last time they toured the African nation 2013-14.

A lot is expected of Kohli's team, especially after the way they had dominated top teams at home over the last two years.

Can the experienced batting unit step up?

Cheteshwar Pujara
Cheteshwar Pujara will be key to India's chances in South AfricaIANS

The core of the Indian batting unit -- Kohli, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane -- have the experience of playing on fast and bouncy tracks in South Africa and thus they will be expected to lead the side from the front. Notably, all four of them were among the runs during the 2013-14 tour.

However, it remains to be seen how quickly the Indian batting unit can adapt to conditions in South Africa that are in stark contrast to the slow and low wickets that were on offer back home. Also, the team has not had enough time to prepare for the much-anticipated tour as they complete a T20I series against Sri Lanka as recently as December 24.