The much-awaited India vs South Africa contest is round the corner and both the teams are gearing up for this marathon energy-sapping tour.
Both sides will play three Twenty20 (T20) internationals, five ODIs and four Test matches from 2 October to 7 December.
There are a number of things Team India will be wary of, but amongst them, Dale Steyn and the rest of the Proteas seam attack will be uppermost in the minds of Indian players, as these bowlers can be a serious threat to the Indian batting line-up in all three formats of the game.
Steyn will be spearheading the Proteas seam attack and his pace can cause a lot of trouble to the Indian batsmen. The low and slow tracks of the Indian sub-continent are familiar to this speedster. He has featured in quite a number of Indian Premier League (IPL) editions and therefore will be looking forward to reap dividends from his IPL experience during the upcoming tour.
Steyn is impeccable with his line and length. He can be wayward at times but if he gets the cherry to swing along with his fiery pace, he can rewrite the scene he wrote during the Ahmadabad Test match, way back in 2008. Steyn ran through the India batting order, thereby bundling the hosts for just 76 runs. He repeated a similar, merciless performance in the Nagpur Test as well in that very tour where he had a 10-wicket haul.
Steyn has so far added 26 scalps to his name in just five Test matches in two previous tours of India and it is quite evident from the statistics how ruthless and cold-blooded he can be. This will be Steyn's third tour of the Indian subcontinent since 2008; he has instilled fear in the hearts of the Indian batsmen with his fiery pace and immaculate swing bowling.
The South Africa seam attack is not only about Steyn, as there are other seamers who are equally formidable. Morne Morkel, who has also featured in a number of IPL games for more than two franchises, will hardly take time to deal with the hot and humid conditions of the sub-continent. Morkel won't be able to generate much bounce off the Indian wickets but his lateral movement can be dangerous. Adding to that, he too bowls at a serious pace.
The other two pacers are Chris Morris and Vernon Philander. Morris too, like Steyn and Morkel, has a fair amount of knowledge about the Indian conditions and its pitches. While playing for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR), he must have gathered enough experience to decode the strengths and weaknesses of a number of Indian batsmen he will be bowling at during the upcoming series.
Philander may not be knowing much about the Indian wickets but the pace at which he bowls is almost ideal under Indian conditions. It will be a tough task for Philander to fill in the huge shoes of Jacques Kallis, who has fared well in all the India tours, both with the bat and the ball. The former will at least try to make an impact in this tour.
Indian batsmen, if you are reading this, then you might as well find ways to deal with Steyn and the rest of the South African pace battery during the upcoming tour! The two captains, Virat and Kohli and MS Dhoni, will be wary of the pace threat ahead of the tour and fans would expect them to rise to the occasion to counter the South African seam challenge.