India in South Africa 2013-14 December 1, 2013

Dhoni not fretful about India's inexperienced Test squad

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There was a time when a day before departure for a big tour would be the day for a captain to state intent or unwittingly reveal fears. With India's most successful Test captain MS Dhoni, though, it has always been about cooling things down a bit. Hours before he and team-mates left for the big - not long - tour of South Africa, you couldn't tell if Dhoni was the captain of a side that has won its last six Tests at home or one that has lost its last eight away. Or if the team is going to carry the confidence accumulated over the home season or doubts sown on the previous two trips - to England and to Australia.

What is certain is, this is India's most inexperienced batting line-up in a long, long time, India don't have enough time to acclimatise to the conditions, and the conditions will be vastly different from what they are used to. About this being a new side Dhoni said even Sachin Tendulkar at some point played for the first time, about the lack of time he said the big help will be that the ODIs will be played before the Tests, and he didn't shy away from the challenge of facing the bouncing and moving ball, something his side will need to get used to.

"Well if you see there is always a new start," Dhoni said when asked about cricket Indian cricket after Tendulkar. "When paaji [Tendulkar] played his first Test match that was his first Test match.

"What's fairly important is that they [the new batsmen] have a good amount of exposure - even though it's ODIs - outside India. That always helps you adjust to the pace and bounce of the wicket. It will be a new challenge for all of them, at the same time it is a learning curve. It's the first time that they will be going there, and they will learn a lot in the series."

Dhoni knows his team might be kids when it comes to international experience - especially in testing conditions - but they won't be treated with kid gloves should they fail. "There is a one thing for sure," Dhoni said. "If you don't perform and you're part of the team, whether you're playing your first Test or 50th Test match, criticism goes hand in hand so that's something you can't really get away from. If you don't perform you will be criticised.

"What they need to keep in mind, what's really in their hands, is to prepare properly. Also, concentrate on what little things they need to do so that they're successful. I think it's all about that. Good exposure."

Dhoni was hopeful the sequence of the tour - ODIs, followed by a tour game, followed by the Tests - will help his side counter the reality of Indian cricket: no proper preparation for big tours. "I think it is always a challenge when you go and play abroad," Dhoni said. "You are competing against the home team, and they know the conditions well. Their fast bowlers always know which length to bowl and also the areas in which they need to bowl. I feel the batsmen will have to quickly adjust to the bounce, see the deliveries which they can leave and push the bowlers to bowl at them instead of going to the bowlers.

"But of course starting with the ODIs it is always a help. When you get to play the shots, you get rid of nerve factor initially. We are playing three ODIs initially, the guys will be expressing themselves, will be playing shots and then they will be carrying it forward into the Test matches as well. The good thing is that there won't be too many changes when you compare the Test squad to the ODI squad."

Dhoni was a bit combative - in his quiet manner - when asked the regular questions before overseas tours. About the pace battery, he said he is always asked about the pace battery wherever he tours, and his response on the microphone cannot change. About the pressure, he said India are supposed to be under pressure even when they play Ireland, so he can't help those expectations. When the statistics of India's bowling at death was compared to South Africa's, Dhoni was quick to bring up Indian conditions and the fact that they had good stats when they did play in England.

Before leaving, Dhoni made it a point to emphasise that the new players should be allowed to develop in their own right, and not be compared to the Tendulkars and Dravids. "If possible, we will omit the No. 4 position," Dhoni joked. "One, two, three, five six, seven and then we'll play till 12. But again, it's not about one individual. Whoever bats at that slot, it is not pressure on that individual saying he is replacing Sachin Tendulkar. There is no replacing anyone. He brings his own character into the side.

"Whoever is going to bat at No. 4, as of now, we have not decided. There is hardly any break for us to decide who will bat at No. 4. But again, every slot, especially when talking about Test cricket, it's an important slot. The top two, No. 3, No. 4, they have their own importance. It's a set-up that's given by them that really helps the team, score big runs and put a big total on board and give bowlers that extra help so that they can afford to try out a few things that need to be tried. Overall, we don't know who will be batting at No. 4 but there is no replacing the individual."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • tanmaymore87 on December 2, 2013, 6:03 GMT

    Team India has a great chance to win an ODI series in South Africa....South Africa have never beaten India in India in any bi-lateral series so if India wins in South Africa it will be great...even the legend Sachin Tendulkar could not be part of an ODI series win in South Africa...India came close on winning the ODI series(it was a tri-series with Zimbabwe as the 3rd team) in 1996-1997...India lost by 17 runs in the final...other than that India have not done that well in South Africa...but this is great opportunity for this young team to show everyone why they are World Champions & number 1 ODI team in the world...go for the kill MS & company...play aggressive cricket & the series will be India's...all the best !!

  • on December 1, 2013, 17:05 GMT

    Team India has had a fantastic season at home, this year, no doubt. The under-performance of the bowlers were overshadowed by the tremendous batting performances. As Dhoni had quoted in the last presentation ceremony at Kanpur, that his bowlers had improved over time, I still think that is not the case however. To bowl to the likes of: Smith, Amla, De Villiers, Kallis in their den will be a huge challenge for the inexperienced bowling line-up (apart from Zaheer Khan), The main question is however: "Will the Success that has been on the side of the Indian team be an inspiration to them or will it be another stumbling block when they face the Proteas?"

  • on December 1, 2013, 15:18 GMT

    It will be a test of character rather than skill in test matches. The batsmen need to play sessions. If they lose a wicket or too very soon, they should stick on to the simple plan to build partnerships. That's the key to success in tests. 3 or 4 days of good work can be spoilt in a bad session on 5th day morning! Believe in yourselved dudes! Hope the bowling Unit clicks under Zaheer. A lot depends on Shami's success with Kookaburra balls. If he is able to reverse it with them, success will be India's. Another interesting aspect is about Jack Kallis. Will he be able to scale the heights of Sachin? Will he be able to keep himself away from injuries? ABD and Amla for sure, will be the biggest threats, though. Good Luck Young Indians!

  • tony_joe on December 4, 2013, 8:33 GMT

    What making things even for this One-day series is , India is back from two successful ODI series and South Africa has been beaten in their own backyard by Pakistan. Confidence recovery plus home advantage should be equal to Peak of Confidence plus touring overseas. South Africa's strength is pace attack spearhead by Steyn backed by Morkel and Philandar , India's strength is the power packed batsmen. Vice-versa Zak,Bhuvi and Shami vs Amla,Devillers and Kallis also is intriguing. Perhaps Ashwin and Jadeja is something which India scores over Peterson or Imran Tahir. Can't wait to watch.

  • Nampally on December 3, 2013, 14:24 GMT

    @Vilander: In your opinion India may be a "Rookie Team" but it is easily the most attractive batting line up in the world. Each of the batsman has his own characteristic style which is unique. On the other hand the SA side is a team of aging Stars some of whom are on the verge of retirement. Older guys are prone to injuries. So firstly just hope that SA side will remain fit thru' this short tour. So much is made of the SA pitches by the "Media" to play mind games with the Indian batsmen. It is a matter of adaptability & a young side should be able to do it pretty fast. Irrespective of your comments, it won't be a cake walk for SA as you are hoping. It will be a closely fought series. I won't be surprised if India win both the ODI & Test series because they have the Talent, Discipline, Ability & Determination to do so. These attributes carried them to #1 in ODI format & #2 in Test format - Great achievement for a Team you call "Rookies"!

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 3, 2013, 5:35 GMT

    @mzm149, While I appreciate your 'deep concern' for Indians, I didn't know that you could prepare us for what to expect by twisting facts; using dubious circular logic and spinning a tangential story. Do come back after the series. I'll be waiting for your excuses again. Or else comment now about the pitches straight away - what do you think - the pitches will be pace friendly or batting paradises or spin friendly? Don't tell us about the nature of the pitches after the tour is over and depending on who wins the series. And why is it a sin if India or Pakistan or Sri Lanka win on spin-friendly tracks? Aren't the Eng/Aus/SA batsmen supposed to show their skills on such tracks? And why is it a sin if India or Pakistan or Sri Lanka win on batting friendly wickets? Aren't the opposing teams supposed to show their skills on such tracks? Do you get my point dude? It's high time followers from sub-continent stop belittling sub-continent tracks.

  • on December 3, 2013, 5:12 GMT

    SA has pace. India has young guns whose bats can set the match ablaze. Dhoni is a fearless warrior and when he is on song, bowlers watch out. Then u have Amla - class and consistency packaged into one. How much more can u expect of a test encounter?

  • Cpt.Meanster on December 3, 2013, 5:01 GMT

    @Vilander: Just to let you know, stats don't matter for the future, especially to a young team like India. Whatever Indian teams of the past did has ZERO bearing on these dynamic group of players. Sachin, Dravid, Ganguly and Laxman were brilliant players but they were 'old school' with OLD thinking, obsolete tactics and athleticism on field. These young Indian guys are of the modern era - fearless players playing fearless cricket in a new age led by one of the finest captains in Indian history; a man who has won everything. Unlike your opinion about India, I think SA are a very good team and India needs to play consistent cricket to beat them. But to say that SA are unbeatable is laughable considering they just lost to one of the most inconsistent teams ever (PAK).

  • Fast_Track_Bully on December 3, 2013, 4:50 GMT

    If a less talented Pakistan can beat SA in SA, India can do better even if SA calling their seniors for this series.

  • Cpt.Meanster on December 3, 2013, 4:47 GMT

    @Vilander: Just like the way SA keep losing games to India in INDIA ? When was the last time SA won anything in India ? You have to go back to the late 90s for that. No matter how you butter up your comment, it is evident you are a SA fan boy with no coherent or clear sporting spirit. I just love people like you. Cause when India beat your beloved team, I would like to see what you write up in your comments.

  • tanmaymore87 on December 2, 2013, 6:03 GMT

    Team India has a great chance to win an ODI series in South Africa....South Africa have never beaten India in India in any bi-lateral series so if India wins in South Africa it will be great...even the legend Sachin Tendulkar could not be part of an ODI series win in South Africa...India came close on winning the ODI series(it was a tri-series with Zimbabwe as the 3rd team) in 1996-1997...India lost by 17 runs in the final...other than that India have not done that well in South Africa...but this is great opportunity for this young team to show everyone why they are World Champions & number 1 ODI team in the world...go for the kill MS & company...play aggressive cricket & the series will be India's...all the best !!

  • on December 1, 2013, 17:05 GMT

    Team India has had a fantastic season at home, this year, no doubt. The under-performance of the bowlers were overshadowed by the tremendous batting performances. As Dhoni had quoted in the last presentation ceremony at Kanpur, that his bowlers had improved over time, I still think that is not the case however. To bowl to the likes of: Smith, Amla, De Villiers, Kallis in their den will be a huge challenge for the inexperienced bowling line-up (apart from Zaheer Khan), The main question is however: "Will the Success that has been on the side of the Indian team be an inspiration to them or will it be another stumbling block when they face the Proteas?"

  • on December 1, 2013, 15:18 GMT

    It will be a test of character rather than skill in test matches. The batsmen need to play sessions. If they lose a wicket or too very soon, they should stick on to the simple plan to build partnerships. That's the key to success in tests. 3 or 4 days of good work can be spoilt in a bad session on 5th day morning! Believe in yourselved dudes! Hope the bowling Unit clicks under Zaheer. A lot depends on Shami's success with Kookaburra balls. If he is able to reverse it with them, success will be India's. Another interesting aspect is about Jack Kallis. Will he be able to scale the heights of Sachin? Will he be able to keep himself away from injuries? ABD and Amla for sure, will be the biggest threats, though. Good Luck Young Indians!

  • tony_joe on December 4, 2013, 8:33 GMT

    What making things even for this One-day series is , India is back from two successful ODI series and South Africa has been beaten in their own backyard by Pakistan. Confidence recovery plus home advantage should be equal to Peak of Confidence plus touring overseas. South Africa's strength is pace attack spearhead by Steyn backed by Morkel and Philandar , India's strength is the power packed batsmen. Vice-versa Zak,Bhuvi and Shami vs Amla,Devillers and Kallis also is intriguing. Perhaps Ashwin and Jadeja is something which India scores over Peterson or Imran Tahir. Can't wait to watch.

  • Nampally on December 3, 2013, 14:24 GMT

    @Vilander: In your opinion India may be a "Rookie Team" but it is easily the most attractive batting line up in the world. Each of the batsman has his own characteristic style which is unique. On the other hand the SA side is a team of aging Stars some of whom are on the verge of retirement. Older guys are prone to injuries. So firstly just hope that SA side will remain fit thru' this short tour. So much is made of the SA pitches by the "Media" to play mind games with the Indian batsmen. It is a matter of adaptability & a young side should be able to do it pretty fast. Irrespective of your comments, it won't be a cake walk for SA as you are hoping. It will be a closely fought series. I won't be surprised if India win both the ODI & Test series because they have the Talent, Discipline, Ability & Determination to do so. These attributes carried them to #1 in ODI format & #2 in Test format - Great achievement for a Team you call "Rookies"!

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 3, 2013, 5:35 GMT

    @mzm149, While I appreciate your 'deep concern' for Indians, I didn't know that you could prepare us for what to expect by twisting facts; using dubious circular logic and spinning a tangential story. Do come back after the series. I'll be waiting for your excuses again. Or else comment now about the pitches straight away - what do you think - the pitches will be pace friendly or batting paradises or spin friendly? Don't tell us about the nature of the pitches after the tour is over and depending on who wins the series. And why is it a sin if India or Pakistan or Sri Lanka win on spin-friendly tracks? Aren't the Eng/Aus/SA batsmen supposed to show their skills on such tracks? And why is it a sin if India or Pakistan or Sri Lanka win on batting friendly wickets? Aren't the opposing teams supposed to show their skills on such tracks? Do you get my point dude? It's high time followers from sub-continent stop belittling sub-continent tracks.

  • on December 3, 2013, 5:12 GMT

    SA has pace. India has young guns whose bats can set the match ablaze. Dhoni is a fearless warrior and when he is on song, bowlers watch out. Then u have Amla - class and consistency packaged into one. How much more can u expect of a test encounter?

  • Cpt.Meanster on December 3, 2013, 5:01 GMT

    @Vilander: Just to let you know, stats don't matter for the future, especially to a young team like India. Whatever Indian teams of the past did has ZERO bearing on these dynamic group of players. Sachin, Dravid, Ganguly and Laxman were brilliant players but they were 'old school' with OLD thinking, obsolete tactics and athleticism on field. These young Indian guys are of the modern era - fearless players playing fearless cricket in a new age led by one of the finest captains in Indian history; a man who has won everything. Unlike your opinion about India, I think SA are a very good team and India needs to play consistent cricket to beat them. But to say that SA are unbeatable is laughable considering they just lost to one of the most inconsistent teams ever (PAK).

  • Fast_Track_Bully on December 3, 2013, 4:50 GMT

    If a less talented Pakistan can beat SA in SA, India can do better even if SA calling their seniors for this series.

  • Cpt.Meanster on December 3, 2013, 4:47 GMT

    @Vilander: Just like the way SA keep losing games to India in INDIA ? When was the last time SA won anything in India ? You have to go back to the late 90s for that. No matter how you butter up your comment, it is evident you are a SA fan boy with no coherent or clear sporting spirit. I just love people like you. Cause when India beat your beloved team, I would like to see what you write up in your comments.

  • Al_Bundy1 on December 3, 2013, 2:47 GMT

    MSD should be extremely happy with this team. They are young - and they will listen to him. Now he doesn't have to worry about non-performing Seniors who were guaranteed a place in the team irrespective of whether they scored or not. It would have been better if our Selectors had picked Rishi Dhawan instead of Ishant Sharma, and taken Jaffer as second opener.

  • Electric_L0ser_Wacko on December 3, 2013, 1:39 GMT

    One advise to usual Pak trolls here wishing Ind a whitewash - get a life!..your team's pathetic show in the recently concluded "home" series thrashing (4-1) at the hands of a SA "B" team was evidence enough that Pak is an ordinary team with over hyped bowlers and a Primary school batting lineup.

  • on December 3, 2013, 1:00 GMT

    I wish our 11 approach Test matches as test matches and concentrate on the basics. If Batsmen focus on occupying, I am sure, we will give a good fight and match SA in their conditions. Vijay, Pujara and Kohli must play the anchor while Dhawan and Rohit need to absolutely judicious. In a way, Gambhir would be the best fit to fill the other batting slot instead of Jadja. In all, let us wish them all the best and hope they acquire the transition skills from one form to other form very naturally as it's the norm of the day.

  • Alexk400 on December 3, 2013, 0:28 GMT

    I think indians bowlers come to party of if SA have green tinge pitch

  • Vilander on December 2, 2013, 21:25 GMT

    guys before thinking about indian win in any of the matches please check the averages or runs scored by these indian bats in SA, its all in less than 30, no one except Dhoni(98) has come close to scoring a century in SA. Indian team is a rookie team and i expect a tough test if they compete in ODI's and do not get trashed in tests and come back with lessons learnts its good enough, any victory will be sweet.

  • Vilander on December 2, 2013, 21:05 GMT

    pak has beaten SA and draw the tests, we can expect India to do well and loose 3-0 in ODI and 2-0 in tests and 1-0 in t20.

  • chitti_cricket on December 2, 2013, 21:03 GMT

    I don't care if India loses or wins, all I care is a strong fight. Say if SA scores 400 odd we at least score 300-350 and lose the test match brings no shame. I think current crop of Indian batsmen will do better at least Dhawan, Kohli and Pujara. Specially I have confidence on Dhawan, his batting style suites hitting the ball on the rise. Batting on bouncy pitches I believe is not a problem only for Indian batsmen but also a problem for SA batsmen as well, but they may cope with it coz they grow up as batsmen on them. We need better bowling attack than batting to win matches in SA, NZ, Australia and England.Our batting will definitely shine that is my gut feeling.

  • bhushanB on December 2, 2013, 18:12 GMT

    @GRVJPR ....continued...

    So lets sit back and find the root cause of this issue... who can fix it or at least make it better.. for the players, for their families, for the fans..

    Who decides the schedule... and how incompetent or Money-minting would they be to setup such a busy schedule...

    If you expect a top notch performance, then preparation is the key... If you have no time to prepare, no time to analyze and correct issues... then How can you get better.... just by stroke of luck?

  • bhushanB on December 2, 2013, 18:09 GMT

    @GRVJPR

    Yep thats the sad thing... every one is aware of the schedule... everyone knows it is no way near Ideal...

    From your posting.. "I don't pay that much attention to how many games we are playing because we have quite a busy schedule. As of now what is really in our hands is two test matches and three ODIs, and to make the most of it and then move on to the next series.""

    So they do not have time to prepare, build a strategy, .... just go out there like Gladiators... and hope that your head is not cut-off.... If you are still alive and in the XI, forget the SA series, move on to the next one... play on like robots....

    How can you pay no attention to the number of games or your team composition on such an IMP tour...

    From Dhoni's words.... this is just any other tour... or one of the many and they do not have time to do anything special/different

    Can't blame him... He is just as helpless....

  • Venkat_Gowrishankar on December 2, 2013, 18:07 GMT

    I am gonna reserve my comments until the completion of the First ODI. It will be an absolute litmus test for all the Indian batsmen.

  • mzm149 on December 2, 2013, 18:01 GMT

    @Dravid_Sachin_Gravitas_Atheist: I and all other people like me are preparing you for what is going to happen to your team. Sometimes unrealistic expectations give bitter experiences. Anyhow best of luck!

  • Bladerunners on December 2, 2013, 17:13 GMT

    Evrey cricket fsn arround the world will b watching this series mainly to see how ind goes in tests without their greats.their young batters will b on the spotlight how they will perform outside ind.last time they toured there was strugling for them.they will get again in this tour if they think they r gonna face easy challange in flat tracks.

  • GRVJPR on December 2, 2013, 17:08 GMT

    @Nampally, Mr Nampally It's high time you come out of this inferiority complex. I am just supporting my team and if it is "drum beating" so be it. I have noticed you saying sorry on part of some of the Indians. My request is don't do that. We feel proud whenever we support our team unlike you who seem to think it is some sort of crime supporting your team. I will keep beating the drum about India. And Sun and Moon are alright but this is sport and when your opponents thinks you can't speak you have to answer them. It's my duty to do so.

  • on December 2, 2013, 17:01 GMT

    I am really looking forward to this series...too bad the BCCI cancelled 4 ODI's, 2 T20's and test from this tour or this would have been the greatest tour 2013 had ever seen......

  • GRVJPR on December 2, 2013, 16:48 GMT

    @bhushanB, You are well aware of Indian team schedule. Where was the time for practice matches. Anyway I think Playing ODI is better than playing agaisnt those club level south african A side which Inda hammered earlier this year on A tour. Also after ODI series there is one practice match before test series.

  • Nampally on December 2, 2013, 16:47 GMT

    @GRV JPR: There is no need for "Drum beating", Sir. Sun has shone for Millions of years for the benefit of all mankind without the Noise & ill effects of wind & Typhoon! The real show will begin soon & both the teams will get their chance to put their credibility on the line. India is a good team which has a chance to become great if they live up to our high expectations & perform. The real show is on the field no matter what we, the Fans, comment. I have much higher expectation & confidence in this team than that toured England & Australia resulting in 8-0 shellacking. Don't forget that the Test Captain then was also Dhoni! Now he has the best available team in India & it is time for him to motivate & get the best out of them. Even without Dravid, Sachin, Sehwag & Gambhir, this batting is better because it is a 100% Fit XI which is in good Form. Only variable is SA conditions.But a young team adapts faster. Let us maintain our Humility & hope Indian team lives up to our expectations!

  • GRVJPR on December 2, 2013, 16:42 GMT

    CSA and the BCCI clashed on the scheduling of the tour, which was reduced to three One Day Internationals and two test matches with the traditional new year's test in Cape Town scrapped altogether. Here is what dhoni said on this after landing in south africa:

    "I think we can arrange a match for the administrators and let them go at each other," said Dhoni at the team's arrival press conference in Johannesburg on Monday.

    "We were busy playing cricket and had nothing to do with it."

    Whether the Indian team were disappointed about playing a shortened series in South Africa, Dhoni did not say.

    "I don't pay that much attention to how many games we are playing because we have quite a busy schedule. As of now what is really in our hands is two test matches and three ODIs, and to make the most of it and then move on to the next series.""

  • on December 2, 2013, 16:36 GMT

    @tanmaymore87: I think you have forgotten the 2000 test series in India, When SA whitewashed India in India winning the two-match test series 2-0. see the match results here http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/current/match/63871.html.

  • nitingarg25 on December 2, 2013, 16:34 GMT

    @ GRVJPR

    I am a true Indian however can't igonore the facts. When English team visited India for 4 test matches, everybody was saying that Indian Spinners will tear apart them. Instead English spinners.. teared apart Indian Batting.

    No MAtter what will be the result is ..but I rate this series as 'Series of the year'.

  • bhushanB on December 2, 2013, 16:27 GMT

    @rhtkumar672

    Spot on... I do not think anyone would think that the preparation for SA tour is anyway near idea.

    such a big tour like SA, you would expect a training/conditioning camp in India, team planning, strategies for bowlers on how to bowl to Amla, AB etc, settled/planned batting order.....Then go to SA couple of weeks early, get couple of tour games....

    Gone are those days... Its just non-stop cricket.. and no one remembers what happened last week...

    I still remember how short lived our WC-2011 victory celebrations are... every one is off to play some stupid league.. never go to celebrate..or relax or enjoy being the world champions...

    If you fail to prepare/practice... then prepare to fail...

    Do not misunderstand me as spreading negativity... I am the first one to cheer the IND team, all 11 irrespective of the petty politics in selecting the final XI...

  • MJ-Sid on December 2, 2013, 15:34 GMT

    It is going to be a fantastic series. South Africa holds the edge in the pace department but they will have a tough time against Indian spinners. In terms of batting, India of course holds the edge. If they can negotiate the pace and swing/seam movement in the beginning of each game, there should be no stopping them from winning the series.

  • Temuzin on December 2, 2013, 15:25 GMT

    Excellent article again from Sidharth. Best of luck to team India. They are young but theyare fighters led by captain courageous.

    @GRVJPR: Good post. I liked it.

  • ReverseSweepIndia on December 2, 2013, 15:00 GMT

    @TommytuckerSaffa, I agree that India was not a top tier team in the long past, but in this millennium we have not done too bad in SA. And those 0-8 drubbing aside, we had being doing alright in all conditions. World beater? No. But sure enough more than competitive. And that 0-8 happened because our stars stayed too long and bowling always lighter, was even more wafer thin on both occasions. But, this team has lot of guys of had good exposure in their formative years in alien conditions which was not there for earlier generations. Dhawan, Sharma, Pujara and Kohli are all good in pull & hook. I do not disagree with most of what you said except fielding. You are not watching lot of cricket for sure. In CT Ind was probably best fielding side and most of the guys coming to SA are same. Only slip fielding you are better and in ground we are better. If we lose it will be 0-10, nothing changes but we sure are excited because we know SA has everything to lose and Ind have everything to gain

  • on December 2, 2013, 14:27 GMT

    India's young crop of players are far better than those fab 4 particularly in bouncy pitches.. India lost 8 test matches(In England and Australia) with those Fab four(Sorry Fab 3) and except Dravid not other batsmen performed... This present Indian batting lineup is completely different... Sikhar emerged, Rohit revitalized,Virat shining,Pujara solid(as Dravid)...only week link I see in batting is M.Vijay(If he plays)... I prefer Rayudu to M.Vijay... Jadeja should be in final 11.. But Bowling seems low in ranks.. Except Zaheer & to some extent Shami... I dont see any fire in bowling.. Jadeja can be cunning.. He dont require spin pitches... But bit inconsistant in that cunningness... I feel definitely they will give good fight to South Africa both in ODI's and Tests.. and possible results could be SA winning ODI's.. 2-1 and Tests 1-0(even 1-1 is a possibility).

  • Nampally on December 2, 2013, 14:20 GMT

    Despite many "Nay" sayers amongst the commenters, I still have high confidence for an excellent performance from this India team for the reasons: 1. There is no "deadwood" in the team & all the players are Fit & Determined 2. There is immense talent in the team especially in Batting with the side boasting of at least 5 batsmen who have scored heavily during the past 12 months. 3. The bowling is slightly weaker than batting but the spinners Ashwin & Jadeja have done well with Ashwin the fastest 100 Wkt. taker in the Tests in the recent time. 4. The real issue here is "adaptability" to the south African pitches & conditions. Being a Young side, it is a faster to adapt to these conditions. Add to this the SA team itself has a lot of aging stars like Steyn, Kallis, Smith on whom the side relies heavily. Can they still produce? So it is battle between the Old Guard vs. relatively Inexperienced Talent. Combining talent with patience & Discipline will lead to positive results. Lets Go India!

  • on December 2, 2013, 14:14 GMT

    While this series is the one to look forward to for a long time, there seems to be a lot of pessimism towards Indian Team performing in south african conditions. I am not sure why. Just a few months ago our Indian A team did just fine against SA A team. Our batsmen (most of them) have already played in these conditions, not in International level. We have played a whole IPL there , So it is not like we are going to play cricket in MARS. As far as Dale steyn is concerned, our batsmen have handled the best, not sure why they cant handle Dale steyn. All said , it will be a hard fought series and good luck to men in blue!

  • VishLara on December 2, 2013, 13:48 GMT

    Experienced or inexperienced dost not matter,As a Batsman should be face every kind of delivery's perfectly and execute it well Depends on the pitch and the Match Situation, for this temperament of the batsman is the big roll to score more runs in overseas.A class batsman's only can do it Like Sachin,Ganguly,Laxman and Dravid. In our Last Australia tour Kholi Scored 116 at Adelaide shows a class batsman's act. Anyway in this tour Kholi and Rohit can Perform Well..Lets See

  • A.Ak on December 2, 2013, 13:45 GMT

    This is arguably the greatest chance to build a young Test team for India and MSD. Since the victory of T20, we all know how consistent India is in limited overs with team under MSD control. Now its time for him build his test side.

  • GRVJPR on December 2, 2013, 13:42 GMT

    I wonder what will be the South African excuse after thiey receive a royal thrashing from India. SO far they maintained #1 test ranking by avoiding India. Now what they will do! And as they are making so much noises about short test series, I am waiting from someone in South Africa to call for a 5 match test series in India. It will be good to see south african, so called fast track bullies, huffing and puffing in chennai heat and humidity. And when the ball turns. It will be fun to watch them dancing on the tune of Indian spinners. Are they ready to accept the challenge?

  • Pavinasen on December 2, 2013, 13:41 GMT

    I am still not happy with the way SA has batted in the 3 odi when chasing. Everyone seemed nervous including AB.They need to thank their lucky star that AB was still at the crease when the game was won. Not a convincing chase. They may overcome India's bowlers and not struggle as much as they did against PAK.The thing that they need to seriously consider in this series is getting out the Indian batting juggernauts cheeply.Every Indian batsman is in form & fearless.Roith, Shakar, kholi, UV, Raina, MSD that makes 6 of the top order. What about Jadeja & Ashwin batting & bowling. These guys would have faced most of the SA bowlers in the IPL .My prediction 3 - 0 India. Please show some sportsmanship and stop that sledging, it paints the entire Proteas in a bad light, which is unfair.SA should not go the Aussie way, as master sledgers, at least the aussies have something to show about it.

  • GRVJPR on December 2, 2013, 13:35 GMT

    Just to make few India haters more jealous here's a fact:

    When the Indian cricket team scores the first run on December 5 against South Africa in the first one-day international (ODI) match in Johannesburg, it will become the highest-run scoring team in the 50-over format.

    India and Australia are currently levelled on 1,82,881 runs from 841 (a world record) and 825 matches respectively. India will create new world record.

  • GRVJPR on December 2, 2013, 13:29 GMT

    Building an India team that fears no one is no mean feat.

    Legends like Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar, Saurav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid have all captained India with varying degrees of success but it has been Dhoni who has forged a team that has taken India cricket to a new level.

    Under his stewardship India have held the No 1 ranking in test cricket, won the 50-over World Cup and been ranked No 1 in that format and won the World Twenty20 title in 2007.

    Dhoni has also been captain for 26 test wins, the most by an Indian.

    The 32-year-old Dhoni has a 63% winning record in ODI cricket, a remarkable stat considering the vagaries of limited-overs cricket.

  • GRVJPR on December 2, 2013, 13:28 GMT

    @TommytuckerSaffa , then you are missing the fact is that India is number #1 in ODIs and number #2 in tests. South africa has collected points playing against minnows and hasn't toured India recently. And your comments on Indian fielding shows you are not following cricket latelly. India is definitely the best fielding team in the world at the moment.

  • on December 2, 2013, 13:24 GMT

    Playing ODIs before the test will surely help the Indians because all the indian players are in tremendous form so if they can snatch a series win in ODIs then it'll be a greater chance for team India to go positively in the test series which will be the ultimate test for them on this tour.I am super excited to see how our top 3 batsman adapt to the SA conditions,will they fall quickly or they will dominate this devastating bowling attack of SA.If they dominate,i don't think there's any better sight to see fot the Indian fans..best of luck!!!

  • on December 2, 2013, 12:59 GMT

    it's been long time India played in overseas especially the pace bowling plays vital role. so can't determine or expect the same form which India had in recent series

  • TommytuckerSaffa on December 2, 2013, 12:56 GMT

    @Fast_Track_Bully

    Firstly SA is the No.1 ranked Test team in the world. Its not my fault you have difficulty in swallowing these facts. Many fans would agree that they are the best Test team at the moment with their strength in batting, bowling and having the best allrounder in the last 20 years.

    Win an away series against Australia and England in their backyards and then the Indian cricket team will get the respect they deserve but until such time its just talk. And why I say England and Australia - not because of cultural bias but because they have been a more consistent test team in the last 10 years.

  • on December 2, 2013, 12:55 GMT

    There is too much noise about lack of experience and loss of Tendulkar. People have forgotten about the 4-0 whitewash suffered in both England and Australia in spite of the presence of experience in Rahul Darvid, Tendulkar, Sehwag and VVS. Except Dravid in England, no great player played well in those two series. It is time to move on with younger stars and they will do better than the so called God of Cricket. We are wasting too much time on the past glory of Tendulkar. Let India move on. I expect the battery of new fast bowlers from Umesh to Shami to perform well in helpful conditions. There is nothing to fear.

  • kdevil3 on December 2, 2013, 12:39 GMT

    I think india is better team than PAK in ODI.So they will win in ODI.But in Test blowing will be a problem. While batting Stern will be a problem , i dont believe phinlender will be problem for indian batting unit.

  • on December 2, 2013, 12:39 GMT

    India have a edge in ODIs,they have a very good ODI team,RSA ODI team is going through the rebuilding process,so I think INDIA beat RSA in ODIs. In tests,currently RSA is the best team,this will be a tough ask for Dhoni & boys to beat them or draw a test. I think inclusion of Gambhir help India,but he is drop,so lets see what Dhawan and Vijay do against Steyn and Co. It would be great if this is a 3 or 5 match test series.

  • Vish4u1985 on December 2, 2013, 12:36 GMT

    Common Team India!! You gotta make history out there. Beat the S.Africans in the ODI & test.. A COMPLETE WHITE WASH... you have the best & the most POWERFUL BATTING IN THE WORLD!! just get through them

  • on December 2, 2013, 12:24 GMT

    PAK debutants can beat Proteas in their backyard so can't India beat them ? India's batting is undoubtedly the best in the world, Dhoni is the best and thinking captain if India's bowlers can do 50% of their required jobs then no one can stop them to winning is SA- good luck to dhawan, kohlin, dhoni to hit hard to arrogant SA bowlers!

  • Fast_Track_Bully on December 2, 2013, 12:22 GMT

    @TommytuckerSaffa. Before being a world beater, please check real stats for SA away from home and similar conditions like Eng,Aus etc. They do not have any upper hand against sub continent teams in the subcontinent. SA won 5 lost 5 agaist India in India, lost 4 won just 2 against a weak team like SL in SL, won 2 lost 1 against Pak in Pak. Which is no way near to the dominant Australia. First win something in sub continent and be the real no:1 , not in doctored fast bowling pitch.

  • on December 2, 2013, 12:21 GMT

    would be a good series,Idia should win the one days without much trouble,they have a good all around side but in the test,i think that South Africa are way ahead.......hope to see a good series anyway......Good luck India....:)

  • Leggie on December 2, 2013, 12:11 GMT

    SA will be hard to beat in their own backyard. SA's biggest negative is their batting - sans Amla, and since they're coming off after a series vs. Pakistan - which is one of the better bowling attacks in the world, they would feel they're better prepared. While the Indian bowling attack may be a lot more disciplined compared to Pakistan, they would certainly lack the fire power to take wickets unlike their Pakistan counterparts do - who often bowl enough good deliveries to take 20 wickets even in ODIs. How I wish that one day we get to see the Indian cricketing discipline and Pakistan's killer attack combine to form a deadly bowling attack!

  • GreenBouncySpin on December 2, 2013, 12:09 GMT

    Remember folk... Our fab 4 didn't fall out of sky. They once were in the same situation - having not played abroad before, they travelled and scored heaps of runs all around the world. And to remind you all - our current bunch of batsmen are playing better than when our fab 4 started playing cricket. They may or may not shine abroad - but EITHER ways, its too early to say.

  • CricketMaan on December 2, 2013, 12:05 GMT

    ODIs - Can be close, but SA upperhand with good fast death bowling. Tests - Vijay suscipble against outswingers, Dhawan need to control his urge to play too many strokes, Pujara weak against pull, hook, Kholi although stable new to SA, Rohit unknown but a lbw candidate, Dhoni hot and cold, Rahane unkonwn, Jadeja cant bat though will bowl, Ashwin still out of form overseas, Bhuvi might do a PK in England, Zak all the best, Shami unknown, Ishant and Umesh good luck.

  • GreenBouncySpin on December 2, 2013, 12:01 GMT

    Except Dhoni and to some extent Pujara (before he started scoring huge hundreds) - no one else on this batting unit has played Tests in SA. And except Kohli (who already scored hundred in Australia) - no one played tests abroad. While it is unfair to say that these batsmen will perform, it is equally unfair to say that they won't or can't perform. I don't want to agree with people (albeit very less in number) predicting that India will win the SA test series, I certainly don't agree with those that say we can't win. On what basis do you say so? Have you seen these specific set of batsmen fail in tests on bouncy tracks before? Have you?

  • rhtkumar672 on December 2, 2013, 11:54 GMT

    Preparation is the key to success. Every time India embarks on a foreign tour, it gets to play only a single tour game or none. On the contrary a team like England spend atleast 2 weeks just to get acclimatize in the alien conditions. That's the reason why India gets crushed whenever it plays outside the subcontinent. Even if India somehow win this series, BCCI should take care India's tours are properly scheduled. What is the use of money and power if it is not utilized in the team's interest.

  • diehardINDIANcricketfan on December 2, 2013, 11:47 GMT

    I could come up with only one rule.. If india is winning we have to hate them if they are loosing we have to mock them and if its a draw.. Hard luck opponent you could have easily won.. Haters!!!

  • TommytuckerSaffa on December 2, 2013, 11:47 GMT

    @Capitalist

    SA are number 1 in the world because they beat teams overseas. I suggest if you would like your team to reach number 1 ranking for more than 6 weeks they need to beat teams overseas and not doctor pitches for home wins.

  • Capitalist on December 2, 2013, 11:29 GMT

    Vernon Philander Says he will demolish the Indians in the ODI's & Tests. Big Call Vernon. The pressure is on SA, anything less than 3-0 in the ODI's & 2-0 margin of victories is not good enough. If you cannot beat India on the Green tops 3-0 & 2-0, SA is not worthy of the the Number 1 spot and should stop Talking too much and play cricket.

  • NP_NY on December 2, 2013, 11:10 GMT

    @Shazli: LOL, jealous much? You can make the same boring flat track bullies argument all you want (btw, india did not win the most recent champions trophy in the sub-continent, they won all the games they played in England), but Bradman himself has said Sachin reminds him of himself. He's said this to no one else. And no other Indian batsmen has ever been compared to Bradman. So I am not sure if your criticism is directed towards MSD, or Sachin or some one else, or if it is just meaningless banter because you can't stand the fact that India is on top in all forms of cricket. It sounds like the latter.

  • on December 2, 2013, 10:59 GMT

    I want dhoni to bat at no. 4...

  • on December 2, 2013, 10:52 GMT

    how do the young turks relate to pressure/bounce and alien conditions will be the main talking point, arrogance/attitude- will be a certain downfall but fearless and calculated counterattack will have to be their forte.

    i predict a win for south africa in tests while a one day series win for india, either ways they will come back with their pride and future intact.

  • on December 2, 2013, 10:42 GMT

    Sameer Kumar i appreciate your recigintion of batsmen favoured pitches. Perhaps you should be thankful to BCCI for this otherwise India would not be able to gain top ranking in odi and test, furthermore, there wouldn't be rohit, Sachin and sehwags double hundreds. to me these piles of score wouldn't mean anything purely because the reason you mentioned in your comment. Regards!

  • Fast_Track_Bully on December 2, 2013, 10:29 GMT

    Before the series SA pitches are bouncy and fast where Indian batsmen cannot bat. But when they pile up runs, 'batting pitch given to India'. I am bored with these replies, hope they will comeup with some other excuses this time!

  • on December 2, 2013, 10:25 GMT

    After scoring heavily on tailor made pitches for Indian batsmen ( dead pitches ) , Team India will face a massive challenge that will seperate the men from the boys . I dont think India will win a single game in SA. but lets hope for the best . It wasnt very intelligent of the BCCI to prapare dead and turning pitches for the home games, it would have been ideal preperation to prepare bouncy and fast pitches in anticipation of the SA tour .

  • Taha_Farrukh on December 2, 2013, 10:14 GMT

    How many test centuries MSD has made out side Subcontinent? Flat track bullies. Playing cricket in 60m grounds and comparing them selves with Bradman....

  • Unomaas on December 2, 2013, 10:14 GMT

    For those taking confidence from India A's previous tour results, remember that CSA currently has a policy in place to play all SA-A matches on Sub-continent type pitches. All India-A's matches were played on Sub-Continent type wickets which is in line with their vision to train aspiring SA bowlers/Batsman to:

    1) Train seamers how to bowl and take wickets on a wicket that is not bowler friendly. 2) Train SA spinners on how to be effective in sub-continent. 3) To prepare SA batsman to play the spinning ball and how to cope with slow/variable bounce pitches.

    This is a long term strategy to ensure that our aspiring cricketers are more prepared to be competitive in places such as India and Sri-Lanka which has been our achilles heel. While winning those matches are an added bonus, the priority is to learn how to be competitive in all types of environments. CSA is investing in retaining its Test Ranking glory for the next 5-10 years.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 2, 2013, 10:11 GMT

    @TommytuckerSaffa, yes yes, we know the new rules. Pitches in SA/Eng/Aus by default shall be called as evenly contested pitches, even moreso when the home team wins. The question of questioning the pitches in SA/Eng/Aus will come into play only if India wins on those tours. I get your point. I'll add this new rule too. Anymore mate? I'm making a list of New Rules ala Bill Maher style!

  • linguboy on December 2, 2013, 10:06 GMT

    @GRVJPR: just relax guys....@AsifRana I have a doubt that he is a Srilankan fan hiding under different username?!?!?! I have seen him defending Srilankan team strongly but fails to appear on Pakistan forms(about 80% of times) and I have not seen him defending Pakistan as strongly as he backs Srilankan team. Besides there's no need to mention every time he posts about he is from Pakistan. His username itself suggests so..... Just a doubt although a curious case nevertheless.....pls publish.....

  • TommytuckerSaffa on December 2, 2013, 10:03 GMT

    Scores out of 10 - India vs SA - Test match

    SA batting - 8 India batting - 9 (very generous)

    SA bowling - 9 India bowling - 6

    SA fielding - 9 India fielding - the less said the better (3)

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 2, 2013, 10:01 GMT

    @GRV, Morkel is lying. Haters are telling the truth. The last straw in haters' arguments:

    #14 Henceforth, in matches involving India, pitch report will be given at the end of the match and the pitch report depends on who won the match.

    #15 If India wins, the pitch was difficult when the opposition batted and was easy when Indians batted. The opposition bowlers shall not be derided for not being able to show their class on an easy track. It's the track's fault, combined with umpiring and absence of DRS.

    #16 If India loses, the pitch was easy through out and the Indian flat track bullies failed on a flat track. The opposition shall not be derided for winning on a flat track.

    As you all can see, the rules are inter-related in circles. This is circular logic folks. I like it! Shame! All the arguments of the haters are one of those 16 points or any mix and match combo. And did I say that they have the right to simply believe that Indians are flat track bullies, facts notwithstanding?

  • Unomaas on December 2, 2013, 10:00 GMT

    The last time India were successful in SA can be accredited to Sreesanth. Man had alot of mongrel about him which coupled with his guts, tenacity and ferocity...engineered saffa batsman dismissals. Indian seamers...look towards Sreesanth's last tour to understand the secret to bowling success in SA.

    As for the batting, It all rests on the openers. Odds are if they fail, India won't get over 250. In the opening spell, It would be a good tactic for Dwawan to face most of Steyn as he is a left hander and therefore better able to cope. Vijay should face Philander and stand a good 0.5 to 1 meter outside his crease to negate the moving ball. Dhoni should bat 4 when the new ball has lost its shine. When Dhoni comes in at 6, he faces 2nd new ball which leads to his downfall. Pujara + Kholi is class but they must be shielded from a fired up Steyn/Philander. Play Ashwin ahead of Jadeja. Ashwin's batting technique is well suited to SA. Don't play 2 spinners AbvD, Amla + Kallis really likes them.

  • TommytuckerSaffa on December 2, 2013, 9:56 GMT

    The Reality check for Indian cricket is just around the corner. I cant wait.

    I cant wait to see the flat track batsmen face true pace and seam on evenly contested pitches. I cant wait to see SA batsmen face India's pop-gun seam attack.

  • on December 2, 2013, 9:38 GMT

    there's lot of faith in Indian camp and the captain... the match will be a tough fight for S.A. as well.... watch out... it's team India!!!!

  • GRVJPR on December 2, 2013, 9:37 GMT

    What will South Africa and whole world get to see is drastic change in body language of Indian young players. Virat, Rohit, Dhawan with his moustache, Jadeja, Raina don't like taking a back step. They always look for opportunities to run out batsmen.

  • Sinhabahu on December 2, 2013, 9:36 GMT

    Looking forward to seeing how the Indian batsmen fare on proper cricket pitches instead of their highways.

  • GRVJPR on December 2, 2013, 9:34 GMT

    For some pakistani here, this is what Morkel has to say about Virat Kohli : "Virat Kohli is a special player and arguably, with AB de Villiers, the most talented batsman among the younger generation in the world.There are two categories of top batsmen. You get good players, and then you see players who have five or ten per cent more talent than the rest. Kohli and Rohit Sharma are among those in the second category," said Morkel.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 2, 2013, 9:28 GMT

    @AsifRana, how many test centuries the Akmal brothers put together make outside sub-continent? Minnow team with batless wonders collapsing to under 100 at the very mention of some good bowling. Pakistan cannot match India on and off cricket field. Simple fact! You know it and I know it.

  • GRVJPR on December 2, 2013, 9:27 GMT

    @ AsifRana, The biggest boundary in South Africa is 75 meter at centurion. Indian batsmen are hitting 105 meter sixes. So no problem. Mean while new grounds in India are bigger than south african grounds.

  • GRVJPR on December 2, 2013, 9:25 GMT

    Just watching higlights of India vs SA last ODI tour. Munaf patel missed the straight ball coming at him and fell like a Girrafe on ground and never stood up again till the ball reached boundary. This will not happen this time as all are athletic fielders who like to dive around. In fact won't be surprised if Jaddu score crucial run outs. Another positive for India. South Africa better watch out.

  • Fast_Track_Bully on December 2, 2013, 9:23 GMT

    @AsifRana. Fan of a team cannot score even 250 in test and 150 in ODIs talking about Indian team! Before checking the 100s of MSD have you checked the 100s of own captain? Not even scored a hundred in ODIs and 65 is the highest he got abroad where MSD got at least 92.

  • Messa1 on December 2, 2013, 9:23 GMT

    Hope South Africa win this series. Just want to let the indians know, take some extra helmets and tell the SA hospitals to be ready to treat broken arms,ribs,head injuries etc cas the Indians r too scared of fast+bouncy pitches!!!!

  • Romanticstud on December 2, 2013, 9:22 GMT

    Speaking from a South African point of view test matches will not be the same without SRT, but then is there a baby taking his place that will be just as hard to dismiss ... Virat Kohli is the best finisher in the business and will test Steyn and co in both formats ... Durban is again on the calendar and South Africa have had a poor record there especially against the sub-continent teams of Sri-Lanka and India on their last visit ... 3-0 to India on the ODI front and 1-1 in the test matches ... Pity South Africa keep selecting Duminy ahead of the likes of Miller and McLaren in the batting order ... Duminy should only bat if South Africa are in trouble ...

  • on December 2, 2013, 9:11 GMT

    as for predictions India could probably the loose ODI series but may well draw the test series !!! I'm waiting for the new Indian heroes to emerge!

  • CricketFever11 on December 2, 2013, 9:08 GMT

    How many test centuries MSD has made out side Subcontinent? Flat track bullies. Playing cricket in 60m grounds and comparing them selves with Bradman....

  • on December 2, 2013, 9:05 GMT

    pakistan with only one genuine batsman beat Safrica in the ODI series because they have a world class bowling attack! Pak can defend small totals, India struggle to defend 300-350!!!

  • on December 2, 2013, 9:04 GMT

    There is no confusion about the first 6 (SIX) positions in the Indian BATTING lineup. Here it is.

    Nos 1 & 2 : Vijay & Dhawan in Tests............... And Rohit & Dhawan in ODIs. No.3 : Pujara in Tests................................ And Kohli in ODIs No.5: Kohli in Tests. ................................. And Yuvi in ODIs No.6: Rahane in Tests............................... And Raina in ODIs No.7: Dhoni in Tests..................................And Dhoni in ODIs

    Many say, no one can occupy the position vacated by Sachin. Now, that is also solved? Now, What is the problem?

  • CricketFever11 on December 2, 2013, 9:03 GMT

    Stayn and Co will teach an Ideal lesson to these flat track bullies. South african ground are not 60m grounds. Not flat tracks. World is looking forward to see these flat track bullies are getting hammered by SA. How many centuries has MSD made outside sub continent. lol.........All the best SA....... From Pakistan......

  • GRVJPR on December 2, 2013, 8:43 GMT

    I think Jaddu doesn't get the credit he deserves. Jadeja captured 24 test wickets in the test series against Australia earlier in 2013 and played a major role in the 4-0 whitewash.

    He also took the wicket of arguably the only world-class batsman in the Australian line-up, Michael Clarke, five times.

    Jadeja was also a key factor in India edging England to win the International Cricket Council's Champions Trophy tournament in June. He scored an undefeated 33 and captured two wickets in the final.

    The allrounder was the world's top-ranked bowler in ODI's in October, but has since been replaced by the Pakistani Saeed Ajmal.

  • Anvith21 on December 2, 2013, 8:42 GMT

    My teams for all formats: ----------------------- Test Team ----------------------- 1. Shikhar Dhawan 2. Rohit Sharma 3. Guatam Gambhir 4. Virat Kohli 5. Suresh Raina 6. Mahendra Dhoni 7. Ravindra Jadeja 8. Ravichandran Ashwin 9. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar 10.Mohammad Shami 11.Umesh Yadav 12.Ajhinkya Rahane 13.Pragyan Ojha 14.Ishanth Sharma

    ----------------------- ODI Team ----------------------- 1. Shikhar Dhawan 2. Guatam Gambhir 3. Chateshwar Pujara 4. Virat Kohli 5. Rohit Sharma 6. Mahendra Dhoni 7. Ravindra Jadeja 8. Ravichandran Ashwin 9. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar 10.Mohammad Shami 11.Umesh Yadav 12.Ajhinkya Rahane 13.Harbhajan Singh 14.Ishant Sharma

    ----------------------- T20 Team ----------------------- 1. Shikhar Dhawan 2. Rohit Sharma 3. Virat Kohli 4. Suresh Raina 5. Yuvraj Singh 6. Mahendra Dhoni 7. Ravindra Jadeja 8. Ravichandran Ashwin 9. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar 10.Mohammad Shami 11.Umesh Yadav 12.Ajhinkya Rahane 13.Amit Mishra 14.Ishanth Sharma ------------------------

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 2, 2013, 8:37 GMT

    @crcktwins, @GRV, fantastic job bros. Keep 'em coming. We have been enlightened by many haters here. We learnt all the definitions, for a life-time. So, let us now come up with rules. Time for rules. 'Fair' rules. A level playing field, if you will.

    #10 If Indian spinners don't take wickets in Aus/SA/Eng, our spinners will be called club level since they can't take wickets in spin-unfriendly tracks.

    #11 If Eng/Aus/SA pacers can't take wickets on pace unfriendly Indian tracks, then the blame is on the pitch but their pacers will not be called club level.

    #12 Indian batsmen should prove themselves only in SA/Eng/Aus. If they do so, then questions will be raised about the pitches, absence of cloud cover, a coupe between host board and BCCI.

    #13 Indian batsmen should prove themselves only in SA/Eng/Aus. If they do so, then we need to look if all the regular bowlers were playing or not. If everything works against such circular, tangential logic, then simply go to my very first point.

  • vxttemp on December 2, 2013, 8:30 GMT

    @Chris_P: On a lighter note, like Dhoni said, it has to start. Probably it may start. I'm optimistic about SA and not India, assuming SA may choke and hand over a victory. I remember 8-0 drubbing :-) 10-0 is a possibility. I'll still have fun and will be here. On a brighter side, what if it ends up like last time India visited SA :-) where are u guys going to hide? :-) Just kidding :-)

  • Jalz007 on December 2, 2013, 8:26 GMT

    Optimistic way of looking at things - India will be successful in the ODI series, they should take the Test matches as a learning curve for the youngsters in the team. Its tough to imagine how our batsmen will cope with bounce & seam of South African pitches. Hence its very important that they stay at the crease as long as possible & play the ball on its merit....I would imagine it would be a tough learning curve for Indians, but its important that they imbibe the positives, than dwelling on the negatives...

  • JustOUT on December 2, 2013, 8:25 GMT

    haha.. Dhoni forgot that ODIs are played with WHITE ball and TESTs are played with RED ball. The double the same story he spoke during the last overseas tour before he was white washed. Next 12 months he will have to prepare lot of stories for press and media. In TEST matches, his team is ZERO unless and until they play consistently well like SA without losing a series for last 6 years.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 2, 2013, 8:19 GMT

    I call upon all our Indian dudes - please stop being cynical and negative. Ask questions of BCCI, of Dhoni, of our players. It's good to have questions and wait for or seek answers. But this negativity about our whole team, coming from Indians ourselves, is sickening. Doubting them at every juncture is just not good. Tiring after a point. Ask BCCI why Ishant is still there. If he gets to play and shows his largesse for the opposition, let's ask him questions. Ask questions of BCCI again. But why take our negativity on the whole team? What harm did Pujara do to us to deserve negative vibes from us? Same for Dhawan, Kohli and Rohit? They need our cheers, good wishes, positivity and blessings (from those of you who believe in god). They really didn't display any significant flaws that you take your negativity to the point that if they read some of our comments they will be in some serious self-doubt. That's not on dudes. Not on! Come on dudes! Let's cheer this Young Team India FTW!!!!!!!!

  • MAYURESHmagic on December 2, 2013, 8:17 GMT

    India has best bowling attack than last time when they had to go with Ishant and Sreesanth. India could have win last test of 3 test match series which was end in draw because of Ishant. This time they have Shami, Zaheer and Kumar alongwith Umesh, Ashwin, Jadeja so the only concern is batting efforts.

  • GRVJPR on December 2, 2013, 8:14 GMT

    Some more cricket rules when India Plays:-

    #1 When Indian batsmen get out on short ball it was poor technique, when foreigner gets out it was the best bouncer.

    #2 When Indian bowlers give away 300 runs in ODI it is poor bowling attack, when foreigners can't defend 360 it is due to conditions.

    #3 Indian batsmen always score runs due to non availability of DRS while foreigns batsmen woudn't have gotten out if DRS was there.

    #4 If games get over in India in 3 days in test matches it is due to under prepared doctored pitches. If same thing happens in south africa it is due to sporting pitches.

    #5 If foreigner sledges it is called tough cricket which require tough talks. If Indians even say good morning it is a crime and bad attitude.

    #6 If foreign batsmen score 50 and raise their bat with smile it is called a wonderful moment. If virat kohli score 100 and does the same it is called bad attitude and insult to the game.

  • cass23 on December 2, 2013, 8:06 GMT

    what a load of bull .sachin was surrounded by experience

  • cricktwins on December 2, 2013, 8:01 GMT

    #6 Spinning pitches are always doctored in the favour of india.. Pace, bouncy tracks in england,aus, sa are perfectly fine..

    #7 If india scores above 300 in india then it is a flat track.. whereas srilanka scores above 300 in srilanka then it is a sporting pitch..

    #8 Opening the bowling with spin in test matches is considered as against spirit of cricket.. But opening with pace in helpful( Aus, Eng, Sa) and non helpful conditions is a great move...

    #9 Only india batsmen have 2 prove their worth outside india but not other teams..

  • CherryWood_Champion on December 2, 2013, 7:57 GMT

    I believe the results of the ODIs and the tour game before the Test series will showcase a toss up between Vijay / Rayudu / Rahane for the Test playing XI. Good luck team India.

  • Taha_Farrukh on December 2, 2013, 7:50 GMT

    hahaha India testing time starts form 5th December, now every one will see the really Loin....

  • Sir_Ivor on December 2, 2013, 7:39 GMT

    Dravid_Sachin_Gravitas_Atheist. I quite endorse your frustration with the many people who seem to resent India doing well . I find that these people arenot just from elsewhere but from India as well. It is understandable for people who have a congenital hatred for India and their consequent resentment of any success that India may have. But how do you accept even some people from India having a similar attitude. I endorse your formulae absolutely. In regard to this tour, I think India should do reasonably well. That is because the younger lot seem to be a fearless bunch. Not afraid of anything including failure. (If one is afraid of failure, one will be hesitant).That may well be because with familiarity of the opposition players or could be because of economic comfort and having played against almost all the big players of South Africa.I also find it quite amusing to read some people giving so much importance to the bilateral series win of Pakistan over South Africa.

  • munna_indian on December 2, 2013, 7:39 GMT

    The confidence this team shows should be attributed to the frequent matches that they get to play in the IPLs with and against stars from other nations including the SAffers. the logic is simple, the more one plays against a team the more they get immune and performance level goes up. an example is the matches involving the lankans. especially in the ODIs, they seem to have no clue as to how to tame this indian line up anywhere. good luck to both the teams.

  • Siva_Bala75 on December 2, 2013, 7:36 GMT

    Looks like Dhoni would have played 3 openers (Gambhir, Vijay and Dhawan) + 3 batsmen (Pujara, Kohli and Rohit). For some reason, Dhoni does not have that much confidence in Rahane. My view is both Gambhir and Rahane belong to the 17. Gambhir in place of Rayudu or Saha would have been better.

  • bravetigersmustwin on December 2, 2013, 7:31 GMT

    No doubt Young Indian ODI team would beat SA in ODI s convincingly. Test matches will really test the youngsters. But Indian team have always surprised by making new histroy. Young Rising - GO INDIA GO

  • Blade-Runner on December 2, 2013, 7:30 GMT

    This must be a mouth watering series for Saffers. I'm sure they will have really good times beating these home track/ flat track champions. This is also a great opportunity for SA batsmen(even tailenders) to boost their averages against this club level attack. The biggest question still stands as if Dhoni is capable to score a century outside of the sub-continent. Its big ask for a FTB like Dhoni. He is nearing the end of his career and I hope Steyn & co. will go easy on him coz he and his merry men can't handle the pace n bounce. Happy hunting SA !!!

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 2, 2013, 7:28 GMT

    The usual circular logic or tangential talk or illogic is out in full flow. Many posts on here but just as an example, our friend mzm149 from pakistan says India won in England because the pitches were just like sub-continent assisting spin. So what stopped pakistan and Ajmal from winning? What stopped Sri Lanja from winning? Look at the matches India played in. Look at how our batsmen played freely and the opposition batsmen struggled in the same matches. So what's the deal now? Was the pitch easy and so Indians batted well or was the pitch difficult and so the opposition batted poorly and if the pitch was difficult then shouldn't it be the class of Indian batsmen that we scored so freely? Nah, you have to move the goal posts again…circle, circle, spin and more spinning….Wow! peoplesssss, grow upppppphhhhhh!!!!! Don't you guys feel embarrassed to squint this hard and come out with some childish irony and spin? I'm sure Politicians don't change goal posts this often!

  • on December 2, 2013, 7:28 GMT

    @dravid :)) thats some interesting points. but the question is how you perform outside it is bitter truth for all Asian batsmen not just indians. When Asain batter play at home they tear apart world class bowlers on flat tracks ,,, same happen to outsiders playing in asia they cant play against spin but somehow they manage to win in asia. Im not saying always but they do ,,,, where as Asain struggle. Every time they win out side HISTORY has been created by this/ that team ... so question is We Asain bat fearlessly @ home hardly any moment. same side face problem when it moves a bit.. last time In India Pakistan series when there was some movement Indian batting was clue less same happen to pakistan in Delhi game . so thing is if asian get track which have little bit resemblance to Asian track our batters kill them in there own den. only thing is we need to play on tracks that have movement to beat any team any where.

  • bhushanB on December 2, 2013, 7:23 GMT

    One good thing Dhoni did, is to ask BCCI to send the TEST only players.. along with the rest of the team....so that they can get settled in...

    Can't wait for the series to begin...

    Especially interested about -- Pujara, Rahane, Bhuvi, Shami

    Have some concerns about Dhawan, Vijay, Kohli (tests), Zaheer (fitness)

    Ashwin, Jadeja, Rohit, Ishant, Mohit, .... we need not worry about them.....They have the Powers that be behind them...

    I guess Ishant will be played in the ODIs as always with the notion that the bounce will suit his style.... but lets see...

  • Fan1969 on December 2, 2013, 7:20 GMT

    @GVKJPR Continuing our discussion on Dravid in SA. In ODIs, Dravid has an average of 51 (11 games) while Tendulkar average is 25 (22 games) and both have similar strike rates....

    In SA, only twice did openers do really well. Once Ganguly, Tendulkar got centuries but so did Kirsten and we lost. Earlier WV Raman got a 100 and won us a match in 1992.

    Can Rohit, Dhawan, Kohli last first 20 overs in ODIs will be key (10 with each new ball). Max 2 down at 20 over stage.

    In Tests also the first 20-25 overs if India lose just 1 wicket we can hold our own. Winning for India, is being too optimistic, a draw will be AMAZING.

  • bhushanB on December 2, 2013, 7:12 GMT

    BCCI does the same mistake time and again.. and expect miracles...

    From flat pitches where 300+ is a norm, they expect the batsmen to adapt in the ODIs, with not a single practice game... really..

    And then user ODIs as practice matches for the tests....

    For India to perform to its capability on away tours... they should have enough time and practice matches to adjust to the conditions, time differences, food, weather.. and what not....

    By the time the players get used to these, the tour is over.. there is no chance to see what they gained, what went wrong.. lessons learnt... nothing..

    The captain himself says.. there is no time to even think who is going to bat at No.4.....

    Pathetic

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 2, 2013, 7:03 GMT

    Here are some new rules regarding Team India and her cricketers. ESPNCricinfo should post these in their website's special rules category.

    #1 A pitch will be called as sporting or batting paradise based on the result. If India loses then it is a sporting pitch. If India wins then it is a batting paradise.

    #2 The true test of Team India batsmen is for them to score in Eng, Aus, SA.

    #3 The true test for Eng/SA/Aus bowlers is not in India against the Indian batsmen.

    #4 If India wins overseas, then the conditions were good for batting when India batted and the pitch suddenly turned hostile when the opposition is batting. This rule is derived partly from the first rule and partly from my twisted brain.

    #5 An 80 metre sixer in India by an Indian batsman is always shorter than a 67 metre sixer in England by a non-Indian batsman. For eg: the 67 metre sixer by Morgan in CT2013 was longer than the 80 metre sixers scored by Kohli in India.

    @harmony111, GRV, dudes can you post more rules?!?!

  • on December 2, 2013, 6:59 GMT

    We both destoyed aus in WC11 now take on SA, tests would b difficult but odi sereis sould be india's. Its just rivalary which speaks in comments but in the real sense we both admire each other. Pakistan admires indian batting and India pakistani bowling. having said that it was pak who was losing not SA winning. losing by 1 run, losing by 6 runs, losing by 4 runs (d/l). hope Ind wont do the same mistake.

  • on December 2, 2013, 6:57 GMT

    I think, playing test prior to ODI's would have been better. In Test match, you get time to settle down, get used to the conditions of the pitch bounce & turns and also fit in new environment. ODI's is like get set go...if they capitalize 10-15 overs of the play, you are suddenly in good position of the match. So advantage is with SA. But we have one of great batting line up's and they cannot be rated low at any point in any format of the game. So, best luck to our champs...Bleed blue again :-)

  • on December 2, 2013, 6:57 GMT

    I think Indian batsmen should adjust quickly to SA conditions. I think we have a good bowling attack in the likes of Zaheer kumar Shami and Umesh Yadav. They all r different bowlers. They certainly will test SA batsmen. Just batsmen should play proper shots. India definately will do good as Rohit Virat Dhawan r in amazing form and they have a pure talent.

  • Incisor on December 2, 2013, 6:55 GMT

    As much as India have certainly improved in replacing the old guard I fear they will be tested by Steyn, Morek, Philander and Co is South African conditions. ODI formats will not help thier test prepration in the slightest. This is the same SA side that bowled the aussies for 47. Expect tough times Indian fans. @rajuramki -I agree. A drawn series is certainly the equivalent of an Indian win on this tour.....

  • GRVJPR on December 2, 2013, 6:51 GMT

    My advise to both Yuvraj and Raina, don't play a defensive shot vs Morkel specially. It is better to get out playing a string shot then gifting wicket with a soft dismissal. you never know a ball might fly above the slips into the boundary. Bith Raina and Yuvi also aren't that good at defending, so back your hitting abilities. Ball also travel long on those short south african grounds at high altitude. India can only loose by their own mistakes, if play to their potential I can't see South Africa competing especially in ODI matches.

  • JustOUT on December 2, 2013, 6:50 GMT

    2-0 for SA in Test series. Can't say about ODIs. ODIs will be bit competetive since SA are playing badly and India playing well. But in Test, against supremely world No.1 opponents, Team India cannot complete. Even though India are ranked No.2 in the world, everyone is aware of their overseas record which was proven again badly with 8-0 defeat. So, I don't see any difference in Test series with SA bowling and batting has proven again and again against the tough opponents at their home turf. It will be fun to watch rookie Indian batsmen against Top class bowlers in the world playing RED BALL.

  • SOLYPK on December 2, 2013, 6:44 GMT

    Hi Well India is in a good position to beat South africa in south africa after Pakistan. But Mr Dhoni should be known It's south african pitches not indians :)

  • GRVJPR on December 2, 2013, 6:41 GMT

    @kasyapm, It was definitely South Africas fault and not BCCI to have only 2 test. And by the way check the number of matches that south africa played in previous series vs Sri lanka, pakistan, new zealand , west indies etc. They were all 2 test match series. So why so much cry suddenly. I think they are worried about loss of revenue than cricket itself. And also when was the last time south africa played 5 test match series vs India??

  • on December 2, 2013, 6:35 GMT

    Best batsman Kohli/Sharma bowler ashwyn results odi series 2-1 to india test series 1-1 or 1-0 to india this what i hope. ..............From PAK kill it india, an african commented that for once i will be cheering ajmal instead of hoping in vain that someone dispatches him out of the park. Well i would like to see Pakistanis playing IPL that we could cheer a franchise, who agrees? otherwise there was a joke, Indian: be jealous your players cant play IPL, pakistani: buzz-off, we have load-shedding at that time.

  • on December 2, 2013, 6:29 GMT

    I can sense india winning their,,, this is something i saw in past : in world cup 2011 pakistan stopped/ broke Australia's unbeaten run in world cup 34 games run and next game india send them out of the championship .... May be after pakistan broke the unbeaten run at home for RSA against Asian teams , same thing can happen , but if this happens it is like beating india @ home in back 2 back series

  • seawolf on December 2, 2013, 6:11 GMT

    for the new line up comparison is not good at the moment, they all are good and need time to travel and learn. what was SRT average in the first 3 to 4 years of test cricket and one day internationals. it was lower than all the seniors of that time. AZAR/SIDHU/MANJARAKER and even lover than Kambli. even at home and overseas. it took time for Dravid / Ganguly as well. Only Laxman did it to an extend from first tour i think. But for him as well there were failures. let them start as MSD said.In SA/AUS/ENG we lose always due to lack of good fast bowlers. We all know that.

  • kasyapm on December 2, 2013, 6:11 GMT

    As an Indian fan, the biggest disappointment is we do not have more test matches (ideally 5 or preferably 3). It was shocking to see the way BCCI handled the entire scheduling episode. SA are an excellent team and they even have an amazing away record. Steyn can cause problems in any conditions, Philander has had an amazing start to his career and Morkel should do well on bouncy tracks. Their batting is also solid with the likes of Amla, ABD , Smith and Kallis. Waiting to see how our young guys - Pujara, Rohit, Kohli and Dhawan handle SA's pace. Would be happy to see them compete, not expecting us to win the test series right now. The previous away tours were disappointing because of the way we lost and not just the score line. All the best Team India.

  • rajuramki on December 2, 2013, 5:57 GMT

    The first six batsmen in the Indian line up is certainly short on experience . At the same time , they also know that the seniors are no longer a part of the team to guide them .With added responsibility , the batsmen are likely to raise their performance level beyond anybody"s expectations . I won"t be surprised if Ashwin is the top bowler in the series . Even if there is no turn in the wickets, Ashwin is canny enough to exploit the bounce that will be on offer . SA is the favourite , but a drawn series is as good as an Indian win . ALL THE BEST TEAM INDIA.

  • on December 2, 2013, 5:54 GMT

    As an Aussie it is my tip that this Indian side will be the next #1 ranked Test team. The amount of batting talent in the young side is astounding and so long as the bowlers do a decent job India will be very, very hard to beat. This series will be all about a very talented side on the way up versus a giant desperate to stay on top. Will be a great one!

  • on December 2, 2013, 5:53 GMT

    Here's what's gonna happen. India will probably win the ODIs and then there will be a hype of people saying, India dominate in England, SA and everywhere.

  • on December 2, 2013, 5:52 GMT

    Will be an interesting quest between the class of India's batting and quality of RSA attack on African tracks, India will get the better of RSA bowling only concern will be their bowling. they have the very good bowlers in Ashwin and B. Kumar, Umesh is also good but they need to put a team effort, i would hate to see ashwin bowling a wicket maiden and the other giving away 10+ in next over. Its same as Pak but vice versa If Pak batting had done decent they would beat SA now for India if their bowlers put a team effort it will be a cakewalk for India. Since indian team looks way better than Pak my money is on India. We both need to learn from each other Pak how to construct an innings and Ind how to restict opponents. Go India, Go Kohli!, Go Dhoni! although a poor performance we still managed to shake em up its your turn to bring them to earth. from a Pakistani fan.

  • on December 2, 2013, 5:50 GMT

    @1978_zaheer, Hold the bus, sir! 2-0 India in tests? Even a 12 year-old from Russia, who doesn't know a thing about Cricket would disagree with you. Supporting your team is nice, don't brag about like this.

  • humi_cric on December 2, 2013, 5:50 GMT

    Just patiently waiting what sort of response/comments will be here once the tour finished. We recently played lots of cricket with SA and will support SA in this series, though 'm a big fan of Kohli. Steyn no doubt currently THE best fast bowler in the world but V. Philonder is also extremely dangerous, especially Indians players like to chase the bowl outside the off-stump, so be careful, he is damn accurate. Won't be surprised once the Raina or UV on the crease and captain will bring Morkel to bowl his short ball stuff, no rocket science. Anyway, good luck to both teams.

  • on December 2, 2013, 5:49 GMT

    Dhoni should only bat at no. 4 and jadeja at no. 7 there is no any confusion for his

  • Srivathsan_Sridharan on December 2, 2013, 5:49 GMT

    It will be a hard fought series for both teams. To win test matches in abroad, you need to have bowlers who can take twenty wickets in three days. In that aspect, the inclusion of Zaheer in the squad is a very big advantage. His experience in SA conditions will be of greater value. Even if he is not in the XI, his advice to our inexperienced crop of bowlers will boost the confidence of our bowlers. Hope the results favour our team. ALL THE BEST INDIA!!

  • on December 2, 2013, 5:46 GMT

    it may not be sachin or dravid who is gonna be missed in south africa in tests. its gonna be laxman who will be missed for his amazing ability to win test matches from impossible situations ..

  • Surajk on December 2, 2013, 5:34 GMT

    I think before we write off this Indian team, without even pausing to consider that this was the same team which won the Champions Trophy in England and performed so well on the India A tour of SA in August 2013. Check these scorecards - Test Series - http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/630769.html ODI Tri Series with SA and Aus - http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/series/630758.html This team might not set the world on fire on this tour but I wouldn't write off this team so early. Curiously the Indian batting order for the first test mirrors the one which India A team fielded vs SA-A- except Kohli & Dhoni. There were 3 hundreds by Pujara, Rohit Sharma and Raina(!). SA-A bowling attack comprised of Parnell, Abbott, Birch, Harmer and Duminy. Not a bad feat at all....

  • on December 2, 2013, 5:34 GMT

    im sure india will win the odi series. gambhir

  • Fast_Track_Bully on December 2, 2013, 5:29 GMT

    @Imran Choudhry. Then how can you compare a 3rd class SA batting line up with Kohli, Pujara and Dhavan!

  • 1978_zaheer on December 2, 2013, 5:23 GMT

    Its india all the way! 2-1 in ODI n 2-0 in tests....by thrashing ordinary team like pakistan,SA look too threatning which they aren't! Hold on RSA, for kohli and company is company.

  • Fan1969 on December 2, 2013, 5:20 GMT

    @GRVJPR. I agree Dravid did not perform in SA after the first hundred but to evaluate a batsman who has played 164 tests based on just SA series is unfair. Dravid has had to face the new ball much earlier as our openers failed repeatedly in SA.

    BTW Sehwag has a very poor record in SA and NZ but still fans believe he can make a come back.

    I am just trying to say that greats like Dravid, Laxman, Sehwag have struggled in SA. Pujara failed as well in 2010-11. Indian fans must control expectations as this is a very promising but very inexperienced team and have little time to adjust to the bounce.

    Hopefully they will do well and IF NOT let us not bury them. Indian cricket fans tend to over react. This is as tough a tour as it gets with not enough preparation time.

  • SHK1 on December 2, 2013, 5:19 GMT

    The Indians should be ready to face the wrath of Steyn.

  • Mahesh-Cricket on December 2, 2013, 5:15 GMT

    Whatever MSD says that no 4 is not yet decided, we all know that Kohli is No.4. Tough job for Kohli as he will be compared with Sachin who has batted the best among Indians on SAfrican pitches. Pujara will have it easier at No3 hitherto occupied by Dravid. For all his greatness the Wall has a poor avg of 30 in SA compared to his career avg of about 55. The Wall has recorded a pedestrian 40 sumthing in Australia too where except for a masterly 200 in Adelaide he has achieved precious little. Methinks Dhoni's men have more mettle, mental strength and skill than our decorated seniors for performing in SAfrica as well as Australia.

  • Fan1969 on December 2, 2013, 4:59 GMT

    @bhushanB. You seem to be a big fan of Rahane.

    Rahane has had his chances but has never performed in those. I agree Rohit has had many chances before succeeding now.....maybe Rahane will also get similar number of chances as he is younger to Rohit.

    Shikhar, Vijay grabbed the chances against Australia in 2013. Rahane missed many ODI and the single test chance....

  • GRVJPR on December 2, 2013, 4:51 GMT

    @Fan1969, I have to agree with comment on dravid. For all his good technique he always disappointed in South Africa. He got 1 century at wanderes on his first tour and then in next 3 tours it was a failure all the way. His average is pretty poor there.

  • ReverseSweepIndia on December 2, 2013, 4:49 GMT

    @Greatest_Game, you will be very surprised when you will not see that world traveled super express fast bowler Ishant Sharma in Ind XI. Instead there will be a guy who has played mere matter of 2 tests in his place, as tall as him, bowls faster than him and make stumps rattle more often. Then of medium pace trundlers there is one with surname of Khan, who looks like a 25 years film star now and who, when last time came back in team after injury, SA folded for 130 odd. And you will be even more surprised when you will see that these kids (who you believe after playing just 5-10 tests are pretty experienced) play the short ball much better and will not just roll over like Pak or NZ. And one request, stop worrying about our team, think about your own. Surprise is all yours in this December.

  • on December 2, 2013, 4:49 GMT

    dont overhype the southafricans before even anything is played . just if these young indian side stands up to its potential we will give them a fright

  • on December 2, 2013, 4:42 GMT

    This Series will be good and both team will look victory.

  • cjscanada on December 2, 2013, 4:41 GMT

    @mzm 149, yes buddy, we win in overseas it is subcontinent, before you even go there, you tell me how did your team fare? We may not have proven bowlers but they sure look very interesting and positive. Our batsman are a talented lot but yes this is a test of their mental toughness, it is a tough place to tour but I will back our boys to do well, as they are a very positive bunch. With a little bit of luck, you may have to look for some other excuse. For me Pujara and Rohit will make it. Dhawan has the game but upfront with the ball seaming its just a matter of one ball. That is why I say with a little bit of luck.

  • yuvi_gladiator on December 2, 2013, 4:31 GMT

    @wapuser india drew 1-1 when they visited SA last time, so that was really painful as SA escaped the defeat in the last one and india were unlucky to not win and i know how painful it is in odis when your team keeps choking time and again. as a fan i know and no matter what you say its disheartening and it feels the same when the team looses irrespective of the format

  • SandipManjrekar on December 2, 2013, 4:28 GMT

    South African Cricket has given new dimension to world cricket & IND is very much thankful to them about their whole hearted contribution. IND is having so much talents but they were transformed into winning spirits thanks to services given by their current & ex-cricketers either through IPL or part of BCCI team management. South African under Hansie was perhaps the best outfit in every format but they are struggled in winning high percentages or championship in ODI cricket post Hansie era. After beating PAK comprehensively in UAE, they thought about experimentation time in home & they did. They lost 2 ODI back to back. They beat PAK 9 times in whole calendar year 2013 which is unique. I don't understand why PAK fans making hype of these narrow wins as like winning world cup & start bashing other countries & particularly ASIANS. PAK had lost 14 games in 2013 which is highest in all teams whereas IND had lost 2 in away & 6 at home winning 22 of 31 ODIs but fans never make hype at all

  • Gurudumu on December 2, 2013, 4:24 GMT

    I believe this Indian team is well equipped to play in South Africa - they do not carry any baggage in terms of perennial losses overseas. They are young, confident and have the ability to play any team. All that is required is a steady head and hand to guide them during tough sessions so that they can curb their, sometimes, cavalier attitude - a test match can be lost in a session! Overall, I'm confident this team will do well - being at the very least , very competitive.

  • GRVJPR on December 2, 2013, 4:12 GMT

    @mzm149, If pitches were like subcontinet why Pakistan, Sri Lanka did so poorly in champions trophy? Also if you are true then it shows south africa can't play on pitches that are subcontinental. Your statement is false. Every othe batting line up struggled except for India. Pakistan never scored more than 170 and that too was achieved with the help of misbah.

  • bhushanB on December 2, 2013, 4:11 GMT

    There he said it... 3-1 or 3-2.. he wants to go with 3-2 and get Jaddu ahead of Rahane... he is just waiting to see how Jaddu plays ODIs...

    If he does half ok, then Dhoni will draft him into the test side as well..

    Mark my words guys.....

  • Chris_P on December 2, 2013, 4:08 GMT

    Wow, is there a distinct lack or realistic thought processes or what? India couldn't beat England at home, their last 8 away tests ended in comprehensive defeats, they are up against the #1 team on their own turf with any inexperienced side who showed glimpses of panic to some of the quicker bowling against the Aussies on dead flat pitches and all of a sudden people are tipping an Indian test series victory? I will be saving these posts and reviewing them during the test series. A little bit of humility, please!

  • Harry_Harish_6 on December 2, 2013, 4:08 GMT

    I have went through the comments section randomly and I find mixed views from different parts of the world. My point of view about SA series is that India will either dominate or share the honors on this tour. It is highly unlikely that India will surrender in this tour.(0-8) drubbing in the previous away series is mostly because of the batters failing collectively barring Dravid in England series. And Indian bowling never dominates the batters. So we cannot expect them to win a series on their own. Batting is undoubtedly the strength and our batters are high on confidence. So they'll definitely put up a good fight. Hopefully we'll go ahead with 6 front line batters as it is a must in SA conditions. ODI's are surely in favor of India. 2-1 is possible. Hardly very few tests are drawn these days and in SA we don't see flat tracks. So I believe 1-1 in tests is on the cards. Worst case 0-2 in SA favor (Very unlikely) Expecting a good contest between these sides. #1 vs #2 (Exciting)

  • cjscanada on December 2, 2013, 4:08 GMT

    @nicks_28785, are you not a little bit too quick in pointing out riiju's comments. I think you did not read his statement well. He did say in the final and yes, I would say India just about won or England lost its nerves. It could have gone either way. I do agree though in the group stage India was playing great. India has a very good side and the good thing is they are playing ODI's first which will ive them a little confidence getting to the test matches. Dhawan is a positive player and Murali is a fighter. As long as these two hold on for the first session, India will fare well. Common folks Dale is way above all our bowlers. He has been brutal even in India. No harm in admitting that. In my opinion this series will be something to look forward to. I would like to see how SA handle Buvi in seam condition as much as Dhawan faces upto Dale and Phil is a very accurate bowler. So this to me looks like a one hell of a series. Goodluck to both but anxiously hoping we get our first series.

  • GRVJPR on December 2, 2013, 4:03 GMT

    @ Talha Malik, You are having a wrong impression about your pakistani fast bowling. Indian batsmen has derailed your bowlers many a times from the track. Pakistan team and there bowling is pretty ordinary. No one is having a smooth action.

  • bhushanB on December 2, 2013, 4:02 GMT

    How many people have Rahane seen get into the team.. while he was waiting on the fringes...?

    He was to be the one to bat in the middle/top order... Shewag, gauti, dravid, sachin, VVS... all five in the top order gone.. raina/yuvi dropped.....but he is still waiting for his chance...?

    Can someone explain this?

  • GRVJPR on December 2, 2013, 4:01 GMT

    Now dhoni is saying "Gambhir should have been in south africa". He did well last time, but then his form dropped considerably. With him in team it would have been unnecessary pressure on openers. You can't drop dhawan from team just on the basis of failure in first test if it happens.

  • bhushanB on December 2, 2013, 3:58 GMT

    I do not think anyone noticed when Dhoni said..."do not know who bats at No.4"....Is n't that supposed to be Rahana.... for a loooooooooooooong time?

    Dhoni made Rohit ...some one who can Bowl... to get him a seat against Rahane... My worst fear.. is that he will claim Jaddu as ...someone who can bat...

    will promote, Kohli to 4, Rohit to 5, He/Jaddu to 6/7..

    Now that would be the worst thing to happen..... I need to check Jadeja's scrores in the last few internationals.....see scores worth noting that would sideline Rahane.. again.. and once for all....

  • Fan1969 on December 2, 2013, 3:57 GMT

    @Ravi Darira. Dravid was overrated? Wow what a comment. Dravid has arguably contributed more to overseas wins than even Tendulkar. Dravid was also the only one to perform in England in 2011 and retired after just one poor series in Australia. I can go on and on....

    Dhoni is an amazing captain and does not hesitate in calling a spade a spade. Let Indian fans keep expectations rock bottom as an inexperienced team is taking on the might of SA on their soil.

    Hope MEDIA will keep away from comparing the new No.4 batsman to Tendulkar immediately.

    I would be happy if India wins an ODI and draw a test. Anything more will be a BONUS.

    Yes, the young team has the capability to do well but unfortunately not enough tour games to allow them to acclimatize. BCCI has not done any favors by keeping the schedule so tight.

  • on December 2, 2013, 3:53 GMT

    The best way to do good in SA is to leave the first 5-7 overs of Steyn and Morkel even if you have to play maidens. Then in the middle over SA's bowling attack is weak where Indian batsmen can cash-in big time. Just leave the new ball well and then jump on SA. Go boys! Do well!

  • LetThereBeLogic on December 2, 2013, 3:52 GMT

    @Talha Malik: India won the ODIs as 3-2 against South Africa when they toured last time in 2010-11. And they won the one-off t-20. Plus they drew the test series 1-1. So your fact about pakistan being only asian country to win ODI+T-20 in SA, is as always, false. Check your stats before you post them :)

  • Great_Chucker on December 2, 2013, 3:49 GMT

    @Taha Malik first beat Zim and then try to pin India.You and your teams fans brag about "GREAT" bowling which was thrashed by India in CL in england.

  • on December 2, 2013, 3:47 GMT

    We should prepare Abhinav Mukund as an opener and work on him. I was really impressed with his technique in England. He leaves the ball well, but we need to work on his temperament and technique. We can have a cook like opener in him.

  • r0ketman on December 2, 2013, 3:43 GMT

    @Dravid_Sachin_Gravitas_Atheist: Interesting prediction. However, we heard similar projections from Indian fans prior to their last overseas drubbing. Test matches (not played on flat tracks), like most other sports, are won with defense and not offense. India has one of the worst bowling attaks, incapable of bowling out halfway decent sides outside of India. India has lost to England at home recently. SA has much better bowling attack than England in SA conditions. Last time Amla played in India, the bowlers were unable to get him out after throwing everything, including the kitchen sink, at him. How will the Indian bowlesr get him out in SA? Anyway, we will eagerly wait for the results. Not sure about the ODI's, as India's batting line up maybe able to win those short format matches, but there is no way India is winning the test series in SA.

  • ReverseSweepIndia on December 2, 2013, 3:41 GMT

    Having ODI's before the Tests is a big, very big advantage. Gone are the days when team used to land 15-30 days earlier before first test and then prepare and acclimatize with the conditions. We usually lands a 5-7 days before and then tough oppositions lands the first punch heavily and we fail to recover. We had character when we last toured SA and bounced back, but our stars stayed bit too long on the scene, lost the very character and we lost last 2 series outside. If we remove those series, we had been decent travelers in this millennium. Now having odi first, will give us roughly 15-16 days before the 1st test. I want SA to provide bounciest wickets for ODI, which even if we lose, will be better baptism if it get ready our relatively new but talented batsmen some time. SA is at home, stronger, but if they think they will just turn up and roll us over just like what they had been doing to Pak, NZ and Eng, they would be in for some serious surprise. Game on...

  • tickcric on December 2, 2013, 3:35 GMT

    Gambhir should have been selected. With recent scores he is in form and he has the experience of playing in SA conditions. Also this side, inexperienced in foreign conditions, needs one or two senior pros beside MSD... I hope Gambhir gets another good score in the domestuc circuit this month and is selected for the New Zealand tour.

  • on December 2, 2013, 3:31 GMT

    On above comments i suggest, indian people think pakistani bating line is veru weak but keep in mind pakistani bowling is NO1 and has beat indian in indian and also in SA too. I know indian can play only in indian now in SF, indian batting line will face good bowling line up and here here all world will know what is talent of virat kholi,SD and also other too. Pakistan has done good in SF and i feel indian will not do good in SA because indian good player are tiger in indian only not outside.

  • vxttemp on December 2, 2013, 3:25 GMT

    Virat is of Sampras mould mentally in cricket. If Virat does well in this series then India's future will probably look great, otherwise history will continue. Also am curious about Pujara and Rohit's performance in this series. 2 tests is too short to judge them. This series and the one in NZ(hoping NZ to provide seaming tracks) will probably tell how the next generation is going to go. By the way, am talking about tests only. Virat is doing great in ODIs :-)

  • on December 2, 2013, 2:56 GMT

    Looking at the form of Dhawan,Kohli,Rohit,Dhoni,Pujara,Ashwin it will be tough for southafrica to beat India.And Indian bowlers Zaheer,Shami,Umesh has the capacity to use the conditions properly. So,just wait and watch how India is going to thrash Southafrica who lost to Pakisthan. i predict that india will win both the odi and test series.

  • on December 2, 2013, 2:55 GMT

    Everyone is talking about No.4 slot in Tests. Here is wishing Vijay Murali and Shikar Dhawan success in showing the same tenacity, grit and determination that they showed against Australia in the recent Test series in India. They should not throw away wickets and build a great platform for the rest of the players to pile up a big total. Good luck, guys!

  • CricIndia208 on December 2, 2013, 2:54 GMT

    Pakistan's losing run continues, from getting kicked out of champions trophy by India to losing to South Africa. India will win as usual.

  • on December 2, 2013, 2:42 GMT

    In ODIs batting wont be a problem as such but yes lack of practice match can cost India. Problem with batting line up is no. 4 & 5, yuvi is still finding his way & raina is totally out of touch.In test matches batting look more stable with 1 new spot generated which will be filled by Rahane/Jadeja depending upon the results in ODI. Jadeja has to play with a mindset as a batsman who can bowl & not as an all rounder what i am seeing is he is becoming a bowling all rounder, thats ok in T20 & ODI but in test matches if u are playing at no. 7 ur avg should be around 45.

  • on December 2, 2013, 2:40 GMT

    It will be really interesting to see how the Indian batting lineup fares against the SA pace attack in this series. This would be the true test for them.

  • Raj1960 on December 2, 2013, 2:23 GMT

    India should play more warm up matches before test matches. Now a days these teams just reach and within few days play matches that count. It gets tougher if you have inexperienced side like the current Indian side. But I have no doubt Indian team will perform well.

  • on December 2, 2013, 2:22 GMT

    We are sure new record of good cricket will be made in SA under able captain Dhoni,who is silently breaking all previous record sofar,We are to some extend very fortunate to have him a leader who is showing very subdued poser when winning is his passion ,,turning the match in to his favour by playing stering batsmanship,whenever the things were down like 25 for 4 or 85 for 6 on several occasion in the past,using new mental calculations by developing,using bowling talent successfully not allowing the opposition to win against us,by keeping unknown ,unconventional field placement to the advantage of Indian cricket making winning habit match after match in the last few years.we found he is very cute calculator,silent in doing,after Nawab of Pataudi,very shtrud,He will definitely bring laurels to Indian Cricket .We prey God for blessing for this young side under his captaincy

  • cricket_ahan on December 2, 2013, 2:05 GMT

    To win any test match, you need to take 20 wickets, and this, IMO, will be India's biggest challenge. Will be interesting to see who they pick as their bowling line up. Good to see the emergence of Shami - no doubt he will be preferred over Ishant Sharma. I'm hoping a rejuvenated (at least from current reports) Zaheer Khan will be back too. That still leaves a few questions though - playing another seamer and one spinner, playing two spinners, or maybe even playing 5 bowlers (3 seamers and two specialist spinners)? Jadeja's recent lack of form with the bat could shake up India's team composition. I would like to see the following XI:

    Vijay, Dhawan, Pujara, Kohli, Rohit, Dhoni, Ashwin, Kumar, Yadav, Zaheer, Ojha.

    Ashwin to be used as a bowling all-rounder.

  • on December 2, 2013, 1:59 GMT

    South Africa should win the test series coz the bottom line is SA blowing is better than Indian blowing........and in test cricket you have to take 20 wickets......batsmen can only do so much to DRAW a game but in the end its the bowlers who WIN you matches

  • on December 2, 2013, 1:45 GMT

    Against Steyn, philander and morkel the Indian batsmen will look rather ordinary. If you want need a pointer about the difference in playing on spin versus quick wickets look at the English in Australia so far. South Africa whitewash.

  • Happy_hamster on December 2, 2013, 1:44 GMT

    Englishfan on (December 1, 2013, 16:36 GMT) The more I see your comments the more I am convinced you are an Indian troll pretending to be from Albion, otherwise why toady up to India "It will be a lot closer than the 5 match series India will be playing in England, which at the moment looks like a picnic for India" based on what exactly?winning a couple of series at home, doing well in ODI's; I expect India to put up a better contest this time than last but that is not saying much as they were frankly dire.

  • on December 2, 2013, 1:43 GMT

    @riju Buddy talha is correct as we are talking about a bilateral series and not a tournament.... Although Pakistan is the only team to do that with a brittle batting line up, I also see India following suit because of their super batting prowess which makes up for their bowling weakness I see India winning 2-1 in one dayers

  • CricketFever11 on December 2, 2013, 1:36 GMT

    All the Best South Africa......... From Pakistan...............

  • thE_baCk_beNcHer on December 2, 2013, 1:36 GMT

    In test it will be 1-0 to SA 2-1 to India in ODI's and 1-1 in T20's.

  • StatisticsRocks on December 2, 2013, 1:28 GMT

    As an Indian, I am seeing most of my fellow Indians are overly optimistic and predicting a seies win for India . Note that this is a young Indian team with lack of experience playing outside of India. I expect Inida to lose both the ODI and the test series as one, we do not have a quality owling attack and two, young batsment will not be able to cope with sort pitch delivaries. I hope this will be a learning curve for the young owlers and batsmen and help tem in ENG later net year. Good luck team India.

  • justanotherfan13 on December 2, 2013, 1:25 GMT

    Whoever thinks India has any chance to win the test series or even a test match in South Africa is hallucinating.

  • AJAYAJODHA1987 on December 2, 2013, 1:06 GMT

    South Africa favourites, but with this young talented India side anything could happen, bowling is the most crucial aspect to look at

  • jimbond on December 2, 2013, 1:06 GMT

    What SA can do in SA is quite well known. However SA seems to have hit a slightly rough patch- with niggles to Steyn and Kallis. What will be interesting is to see how Indian batsmen and bowlers cope with the new conditions. ODIs are expected to be on rather flat tracks and tests will be played on different types of wickets. Hence ODIs will not enable the Indian players to adjust to SA conditions. In ODIs, Indian batsmen will do well. In tests, given their talent, at least one Indian batsman is likely to make the adjustments, though it still may not be enough to win a test.

  • on December 2, 2013, 1:00 GMT

    Umesh Yadav: He used to lose just length & line quite often, giving away easy runs. In the match against Mumbai,we saw that he started losing pace. It may be too late, to replace him at the moment. And,if he is going to be benched, and used only for nets, I wish we could have taken someone like Sandip Sharma. Among the 20 year ol d pacemen, he looks the best and will be of great potential.

    In the past, teams had replaced an occasional player with a new one, during a tour, giving "injury" as the reason. Any chance of using that old tactic.

    I had been watching the 19-20 year olds quite closely or some time. There are a few who should be picked and groomed early; even adding them as an additional member accompanying the seniors. Some of them are: Vijay Zol (batsman), Sanju Samson (WK batsman). Aprajit (Batsman-off spinner), and Sandip Sharma. We should give more exposure to these boys, the same way we are giving to Unmukt Chand.

  • shot274 on December 2, 2013, 0:14 GMT

    I do take my hat off to the confidence exuded by Indian fans. I would be very wary of this tour if i was Indian. In the last 3 years(from Jan 2011) India have won 12 test; 11 in India and 1 against West Indies at Kingston. Forget the ICC rankings. Both England and Australia are below India in the rankings. Both won 4-0 not so long ago.You all talk about the new batsmen-Dhawan, Kohli, Pujara etc. Remember you need 20 wickets as well!!! Cannot wait to see Steyn Morkel and Philander on green top wickets. It could be the most one sided series between 2 sides who are supposedly the two best in the world!Well South Africa definitely are!!

  • Harmony111 on December 2, 2013, 0:12 GMT

    @Riju Andrews:

    Not only are you a pessimist, you are woefully wrong on your readings too.

    Nicks has already corrected you about the way India reached the final. India were THE team of the tournament. They were the team to beat. I am not saying this as hindsight or as if this was the preview thought. This thought was built up as the matches happened. India scored 2 300s in the practice matches, scored one more 300 in the main matches vs SA, scored at 6+ v WI, limited Pak & SL for some ~170 & 185 totals. Is this not dominating performance? No other team played like this. Eng failed to defend 294 vs the hopeless SLs while SA got to the finals due to the thinnest of margins (a DLM based tie) when Pollard got out.

    In the final, Indian batting was interrupted THRICE by rain while Eng got 20 uninterrupted overs YET Eng couldn't make what we had 'scraped' through. As for giving that over to Ishant, did you read MSD's comments? Yes he got lucky but he made his luck by smart thinking.

  • on December 2, 2013, 0:00 GMT

    @SnowSnake: are you daydreaming ?? you are comparing standards of styen, morkel, mclaren with 3rd class bowling lineup ??

  • on December 1, 2013, 23:58 GMT

    Pakistan has done it and now its India's turn.. Cmon Dhoni you have my support! Pak fan.

  • on December 1, 2013, 23:45 GMT

    Indian Batsmen have often struggled against pace and bounce. SA has the some of the fastest bowlers and the bounciest tracks. It will be interesting to see how the fabled Indian batting line-up fares in South Africa. Are they genuine or are they just flat track bullies? The next few weeks will tell.

  • bhushanB on December 1, 2013, 23:28 GMT

    There he goes again... Dhoni... uncertainty over NO.4

    Last series, Rohit was posed as someone that can bowl....to keep Rahane out... Is he now going to pose Jadeja as someone that can bat....to keep him out of the team again...

    May be the height of pessimism....but Dhoni has taken some headstrong decisions in the past to get his buddies into the team....

  • AJAYAJODHA1987 on December 1, 2013, 23:23 GMT

    Just registered so excited to be part of this. this is going to be a great series, advantage South Africa not only because they are at home but they are a great side check their record in test matches. don't count out India they got alot of talent, on a role and have a point to prove away from home.

  • saady_pak on December 1, 2013, 23:19 GMT

    my prediction: test series SA wins 1-0. odi series india wins 2-1

  • IAS2009 on December 1, 2013, 23:13 GMT

    pakistan had reality check playing against SA early this year, SA TV showed the variation Asian side see in SA, it is how quick the ball comes to batsman after pitching and the height. this is where Asian batsman struggle both in SA and Australia. It is not that easy, Even with India big three have very hard time adjusting, they lost all tests in Australia and England in last two tours. Time will tell how these batsman survive the first 25-30 overs on Steyn and company. the key is if they don;t loose more than 2 wickets in first 25 overs they need to score between 25-85 overs before new ball is due, on Pakistan tour of SA Pakistan lost most of wicket with new ball, SA bowlers are not good at taking wickets with old ball. they key to protect your wicket when ball is new and attack when old ball in use.

  • lok900 on December 1, 2013, 23:02 GMT

    Are the indians forgetting the SA bowling attack?

  • TNAmarkFromIndia on December 1, 2013, 22:51 GMT

    India should be able to win the ODI series. The South African team is the weakest it's been in years, especially in their batting. The current Indian team proved in the Champions Trophy that it can outplay every other team in English conditions and I think they have the capability to do the same in South Africa. The tests however will be a different matter and will be a lot closer to call.

  • playitstraight on December 1, 2013, 22:51 GMT

    I think India has a good chance in the upcoming Test series and ODI series - I know this sounds very biased but really, the pace attack looks good, the batsmen although inexperienced have shown their ability and they've been in good form.

    I think playing 7 batsmen (Dhawan, Vijay, Pujara, Rahane, Kohli, Rohit, Dhoni) is important against the likes of Steyn, Philander, Morkel, etc. especially because India no longer has SRT who has essentially mastered playing in these conditions.

    I would include Ashwin as the lead spinner, and then Zak, Bhuvi and Shami. Bhuvi has a really underwhelming Test record surprisingly knowing that he can swing it both ways, so I think it would have to be a face-off between Bhuvi and Yadav, who has raw pace, something which Bhuvi lacks.

    If India decides to play six batsmen, then Yadav, Bhuvi, Zak, Shami, and Ashwin are set to play. It all depends on what Dhoni thinks on the morning of the Test, which as always, is unpredictable. Good luck to both sides!

  • on December 1, 2013, 22:14 GMT

    Most comments appear to be pre-conceived. In actuality there is neither hype nor under-dog about either team. SA was just ordinary against Pakistan and India is a unknown factor abroad. It will be just cricket like anywhere with anyone. No more, no less In fact there is additional pressure of SA wanting to improve over its PAK matches and IND trying do better than PAK for political reasons. Only good for TV viewing and not for spending on tickets to stadium.

  • Happy_hamster on December 1, 2013, 22:10 GMT

    Dravid_Sachin_Gravitas_Atheist on (December 1, 2013, 18:46 GMT) Pretty much everyone is a minnow then apart from India! population wise definitely but win loss ratio in tests they are all above superpower India p.s India have won one test out of nine against minnow England but I guess they were in transition or weren't trying or that doesn't count because they lost etc... empty vessels make the most noise (metaphorically of course).

  • supacricfan on December 1, 2013, 22:02 GMT

    if pakistan can win a series in SA with atrocious batting line up then india will cake walk the one day series and win it 3-0!!

  • rocket123 on December 1, 2013, 21:42 GMT

    With Dravid gone, there is no "Wall" . Indian cricket has been pathetic since its beginning. Indian team did not get better it just happened that other teams became weaker in recent times. Imagine, any team having 3-4 bowlers who could bowl like Johnson the way he bowled against English, current Indian batting line-up will fall like a house of cards. Just winning WC 2011 against weaker bowling attacks and flat tracks is no indication of a great team and for that matter a sign of great batting line-up. If India will ever come again a battery of fast bowlers like West Indian (old days), 2 Ws including Imran Khan/Shoaib Akthar, or 4 bowlers like Johnson operating in tandem, the Indian batting will fall apart in the fashion unknown and incomarable to that of old Indian batting line-up. It is just that nowadays the quality of fast bowling and bouncer rules have been reduced to naught. Be a champion like West Indies or Australia or Pakistan (which never lost against the might of WI).

  • Nampally on December 1, 2013, 21:32 GMT

    Indian side may be inexperienced in the SA conditions but has enough talent & batting skills to "adapt" to them. While most of the guys scheduled to play in the Tests are also in ODI's, 2 important guys are not in it. Pujara is the batting sheet anchor of the team in Tests & Zaheer will be the leading pacer. Strangely Dhoni's words that the team will get ODI match practice before the tests do not carry much weight when their "2 important Cogs in the Wheel" are missing this crucial exposure before the Tests. Apart from this selection lapse, the rest depends on the batsmen as to how fast they adapt to different bounce & seam movement. In Dhawan, Pujara, Kohli & Rohit Sharma India has arguably the cream of the world batting talent. If they adapt fast there will be lot of runs. One crucial area to focus on is the slip catching. India does not have Dravid or VVS any more. That should be top priority for Dhoni. This team is too talented & I am confident they will replace SA @ #1 Test spot!

  • Greatest_Game on December 1, 2013, 21:19 GMT

    @ Harsh Wasu wants to know "Why do we keep calling the current team an inexperienced one? it is more or less the same team that India has fielded in tests in the last one year."

    Just complete the sentence, Harsh Wasu - the answer is clear. "it is more or less the same team that India has fielded in tests in the last one year, playing only at home against the pathetic, bumbling Australians and the equally unchallenging West Indies."

    This team is not experienced at playing real pace, bounce and movement - something not seen on the dust bowls of India. Similarly, this team has little but military medium trundlers, of whom Ishant Sharma is the world travelled spearhead.

  • on December 1, 2013, 21:15 GMT

    All I can say is that India will feel the pain just like all the other teams that visit our shores. The Proteas are not number one in Test matches for nothing. This is a fact. India may win the one dayers, who really cares about that pajama crap. Test match cricket is the ultimate.

  • Wacky_Cric_Lover on December 1, 2013, 21:09 GMT

    This will be the real test of india. I will be specially watching the emerging heros like dhawan, kohli and sharma. It will be an interesting battle, quality batting against quality bowling. In bowlers I will love to see how shami and b kumar will perform in bowling friendly situations. It will tell us whether they are good bowlers or just a blip on the indian bowling radar. my prediction: 1-1 Test and 2-1 to SA in ODI

  • borninthetimeofSRT on December 1, 2013, 20:42 GMT

    This Indian team might be inexperienced only on paper. But there's an air of confidence among players, fans and critics in India believing that they will do well in SA. I think this team with new faces is refreshing, not only because it is young and confident, but also because it doesn't know how to be demoralized (unlike teams in the past). It will come up with solutions fast, and perhaps switch gears quickly between defense and attacking mode in batting. As far as the bowling is concerned, we now have two very promising swing bowlers (unlike teams in the past) and a very experienced Zak to guide them. Our fielding is also better than ever, as we have seen guys diving around to save every run. So, all in all it is better equipped (minus the on paper experience). So MS is right, there's always a start - probably meaning that for a new sort of contest that SA hasn't had from India before, and for the players, fans and critics as well.

  • chechong0114 on December 1, 2013, 20:41 GMT

    This abbreviated test and ODI series that's about to start between India and SA is a clear indication of how poorly managed the sport of cricket is in the 21st century. When u have 2 of the biggest giants in the sport only able to muster up 2 tests and 3 ODIS in a series that was suppose to originally have about 9 matches what is that saying in the general scope of things. Cricket really needs help to establish an image the sport does not have an image. Everything about it says "HELP ME" yet no one in charge seems to be really bothered or affected by the short comings of the game. The sport needs new blood, new vision, a new direction in order for it to become a competitor with the other so called prominent sports out there and this needs to become priority.

  • mzm149 on December 1, 2013, 20:38 GMT

    India won Champions Trophy because pitches in England were more like sub continental pitches at that time of the year with no swing at all. They assisted spin more than usual. The same Indian team got a whitewash in ODI, test and t20 series in England in 2011. The same team got whitewashed in Australia in test the same year. In tri nation series in Australia too, India showed poor performance. India might win an ODI game in South Africa, but winning a test match with this bowling is impossible.

  • CherryWood_Champion on December 1, 2013, 20:35 GMT

    @zafar_chowdry: Unlike PCB, BCCI has better sense regarding the selecting of players and choosing the captain. They know when and why to pick different captains for different formats. MSD has been the best thing to happen to Indian cricket and has been doing extremely good until now in all formats of the game. The only thing BCCI has to do is groom the next in line captain.

  • on December 1, 2013, 20:29 GMT

    agree with @talha malik

  • on December 1, 2013, 20:28 GMT

    indian fans and team is thinking that they have world class batsman by playing with australia wi etc with weak attacks and on flat pitches. everyone knows what happened in the series pak vs ind in india on flat pitches the great batsman were bowled for duck by pak super bowling steyn morkel philander tsobe tahir are dangerous on their home ground and india will lose this series

  • on December 1, 2013, 20:20 GMT

    2-0 to SA in the tests. 3-0 to South Africa in tests. Pakistan is the only asian team to win T20 and one day bilateral series against SA in SA. No other asian team will be able to do that due to weak bowling attacks

  • nicks_28785 on December 1, 2013, 19:43 GMT

    @ Riju Andrews: Get your facts right before commenting.. India dint "hardly scrape" through to final in CT.. Infact India was the most dominant team in CT. They were beating everyone easily and scoring at 6 rpo when others were scoring at 4.5 to 5 rpo.. Go check the score cards of all matches u ll know.. The only tough and close match was final of CT.. U shd know before commenting..

  • CodandChips on December 1, 2013, 19:31 GMT

    @GRVJPR ok I understand you made a mistake. But please don't assume that just because I am openly English, I am a "hater". In fact I love watching India play and I believe my comments are usually fair. I hoped that openly stating my agenda would be a good thing. To be honest though this "negativity" you refer to is mainly from Indian fans but I cant see why. See my earlier comments for why they'll be fine. The only people in the team I would be ever so slightly worried about are Kohli and Ashwin. Personally I would rather Jadeja as the spinner because he doesnt need to turn the ball and I think he can bowl in any conditions. Kohli is a great talent who needs to step up in test cricket; maybe this'll be his moment.

    1-1 in the tests. 2-1 India in the ODIs. Are they playing T20Is? If so India to win them all.

  • AamirKhan-SuperStar on December 1, 2013, 19:30 GMT

    Not once did i read that Dhoni said 'Gambhir is our reserve opener'. Its nowhere...

  • SnowSnake on December 1, 2013, 19:28 GMT

    Since ODIs are first, SA needs to win the ODI series if it wants to win the Tests. By the time Tests begin, India will be well settled on SA pitches. SA's best chance is to pressure India early on. Otherwise, it will be India all the way. There is nothing Steyn, AB, Parnell or Morkel can do. India has bowlers with similar capability and pace.

  • on December 1, 2013, 19:19 GMT

    Lol belting it out in ct?? We hardly scraped through in the final where we were tied up helpless and posted what 120 or something, and the fact that Ishanth sharma call up for that fateful over is beyond logic , so yeah it's gonna be tight, and hopefully fun:-) do well boys

  • on December 1, 2013, 18:56 GMT

    This team will be do better than the previous overseas tour simply because, laxman and tendulkar were past their prime. We had Gambhir and Sehwag out of form, and Dravid who is overrated. Now the new crop Dhawan, Rohit, Kohli, Pujara and Rahane are more hungry and much more talented than the oldies. Also I believe they listen to Dhoni more which will be a single reason that India will come out on top. India will win the one day series easily and test matches might be 1-1 or 1-0 to India. All the talks about bouncy pitches is overrated, the current generation of indian batters can wack it on any pitch. We just one the CT in England where sides were struggling to score and indian batters were killing everyone.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 1, 2013, 18:46 GMT

    It's going to be most likely 1-0 or may be 2-0 for India in tests and most likely 3-0 or may be 2-1 for India in ODIs. The score-line of the series might suggest that India won the series comfortably, but I'm sure that this will be a hard fought series. SA in ODIs is not such a good team and we are World Champs. In test cricket, SA haven't faced a strong team like India. They enjoyed their run against minnows like Sri Lanja pak, NZ, England (good not even in England now a days) and Australia (in transition).

  • LegSpinBowlr on December 1, 2013, 18:41 GMT

    an exciting series looking forward to the fight between Indian batsmen and Sa bowlers esp the top 3 batsmen on indian batting line up vs Steyn, tsotsobe, parnell. However Yuvraj might have an advantage here as Sa dont have a world class spinner, agree tahir is good but not as good as narine. Sa on other hand depending a lot on amla and deVilliers, de kok is good but still growing player, without AB sa dont have a finisher which was the reason they lost the crucial match against pak, duminy under pressure cudnt muster 6 runs required to win. Good luck to both teams may the best team win

  • Cpt.Meanster on December 1, 2013, 18:26 GMT

    @Saville Correreia: Sir, I think you are talking about Pakistan or WI ? Cause, both those teams have poor batting line ups that usually collapse for a 100 runs. India have no problems whatsoever. Tests or ODIs, this young team have the quality to do well. SA better watch out.

  • GRVJPR on December 1, 2013, 18:25 GMT

    @ Adnan Mirza, AB devillers never said that Indian bowlers are club level. In fact he praised them when they lost at Champions trophy. AB however mentioned that their real test will begin now having to bowl at world class Indian batsmen then those street level pakistan batsmen.

  • GRVJPR on December 1, 2013, 18:22 GMT

    @ Englishfan, It was brutal_analyst and by mistake I mentioned your name. There has be so much unnecessary negativity about Indian team that is spread over last few days that I have had to make some strong statements to make my genuine points stand up.

  • on December 1, 2013, 18:17 GMT

    Teem India no doubt good team. But only in home ground s .South Africa will punished very badly very badly............................

  • GermanPlayer on December 1, 2013, 18:11 GMT

    2 Match seiries? Really? Shame!

  • on December 1, 2013, 18:11 GMT

    Always a fun seeing Indian comments comparing Australian pace attack on flat indian wickets with South African pace attack on bowling attacks :D

  • on December 1, 2013, 18:09 GMT

    MS Dhoni said playing the ODIs before the Tests would help his batsmen settle in better in South Africa this will give lot of confidence to india else if india would have played tests 1st thn they may get all out on 1st day that also before tea or may be below 100

  • on December 1, 2013, 18:09 GMT

    Dhoni needs to scire runs in testa also look at the diffrence of average s btwn test ans odis , he nedd to improve his batting

  • GRVJPR on December 1, 2013, 18:07 GMT

    South Africa is a confused team at the moment. They didn't play Kallis and Smith in ODIs in UAE and won that series, Then they came back and played both of them in first 2 matches at home and South Africa lost to pakistan. In last game again they didn't play and South Africa won. This shows how vulnerable and unsettled South Africa is. India just need to play to their potential and hope umpires don't make blunders, India will win.

  • RibhavBansal on December 1, 2013, 18:05 GMT

    Has South Africa declared their ODI squad yet? Is it going to be the same team that faced Pakistan because they did not specify that it will be the same squad against India too? 3 days before the tour commences, they have not yet decided their squads for the test and the ODI series. Test series then also begins later, but the ODIs are commencing 3 days from now.

  • Cpt.Meanster on December 1, 2013, 18:04 GMT

    I honestly think India can WIN this series. We have a magnificent player and captain in MS Dhoni and a string of excellent young players in Kohli, Dhawan, Rohit, Pujara, Bhuvi, Shami, and Ashwin. It will be a very close series unlike the claims made by some negative minds. SA are not the WI or AUS of vintage. Yes, they are a good team but not an invincible team. India have a golden opportunity to beat them and we have the team to do so. Many of these guys already toured SA early this year with the A team and they performed well. So best wishes champs and let's show em what we are made of.

  • on December 1, 2013, 18:03 GMT

    Who cares about result, what is important for us to go and play with our heart out. It is a learning curve for everyone. Bowlers will learn the right length to bowl, captain will learn about the new fielding position & batsman will learn how to play stroke on these lovely wickets where ball will come nicely on the bat. Its not only about team but also about individuals, about the gut. I remember tour of Eng in 1996, where India found Ganguly & Dravid, later found Laxman in Aus & Sehwag's first hundred came in SA. Overseas tour are important, they judge your temperament, adaptability & appetite to do at international level. These guys have talent, this tour will bring a man out of them ! Good Luck India

  • CodandChips on December 1, 2013, 17:57 GMT

    @GRVJPR I dont know of anybody who claimed Root is better than Kohli. Everybody knows Kohli is much better, even probably Joe Root's Mum.

    Also why did you make up a quote about me? When did I mention "leaving balls"?. Please explain.

    I dont like your antagonistic approach. Why cant cricket fans from different countries get along and debate sensibly. Indian people are so friendly.Why do you have to ruin that?

  • on December 1, 2013, 17:57 GMT

    I am from Pakistan and waiting for this series Draw back for india will be that pakistan just visited SA after facing PAK bowling SA Batsman will feel relief to face India ' s club level Bowling as AB dev said in its interview

  • on December 1, 2013, 17:50 GMT

    Old is gold. SEHWAG may be done but not gambhir. INDIAN OPENERS will decide the fate of the series so I will wait for 2tests before commenting onVijay etc. Must play jaddu aheadof rane.ad jsdeja is better package than any other fellow

  • GRVJPR on December 1, 2013, 17:36 GMT

    Lot's of questions were asked about Kohli if he could play short ball etc. He scored 74 at perth before ran out of partners. Let me see if Joe Root ( a youngster from england) can score 74 at perth.

  • GRVJPR on December 1, 2013, 17:29 GMT

    It's good after my appeal the other day that we all should stop posting negative and unneccesary critical comments about young indian team is working. I am seeing more positive comments already. Great going guys. Now just keep backing our team, they need our support.

  • on December 1, 2013, 17:27 GMT

    Good Luck India, it is time to move on post Sachin retirement.

    I hope the young players, though inexperienced, are far more confident and i guess the Tour of South Africa will be competitive.

  • on December 1, 2013, 17:26 GMT

    sharma and kohli are honest competitora.. they will always give a fight...its ab vs kohli and amla vs pujara....super exciting for us Indian fans...SA are already intimidated...ask smith...zaheer is cuming.

  • james7771986 on December 1, 2013, 17:24 GMT

    india will lose odi 3-0 and test 2-0

  • on December 1, 2013, 17:24 GMT

    jaddu is not getting any support ...I feel that he is a better spinner than ashwin...imo he will be the most crucial factor in tests if India is able to take a match to 5th day with saffas batting

  • GRVJPR on December 1, 2013, 17:20 GMT

    Short tour is also good because it will be over before zhaeer khan gets injured again. This strategy was adopted by earlier Australia team where they will make a short test tour to India and then return and comeback to play ODI cricket. Well done BCCI, things are moving in right direction. Don't worry about critics, you team is high in rankings in all formats and that is what matters most.

  • on December 1, 2013, 17:20 GMT

    People who feel that India will lose have failed to grasp a very important observation. Ever since India lost against Eng in India, Dhoni knows that one bad series and people will start to talk about him being old. Dhoni is desperate to protect his captainship. Hence in my opinion he and The Indian team combined might surprise you. and pakis who compare him to Imran...please do not do that. They are individuals with different attitudes, skill set and aura.

  • pull_shot on December 1, 2013, 17:16 GMT

    @Al_Bundy1 I don't agree with u on Dravid after seeing ipl6

  • on December 1, 2013, 17:16 GMT

    I think this indian team is much more talented. they are strong mentaly. after playing Australia they have figured out how to play pace attack. no one should under estimate current indian team. After the loss of series overseas in last two years. they are hungry why they have showed in recent Australia odi series. no score is too big for them.

  • on December 1, 2013, 17:16 GMT

    This side of India may be the inexperienced side. People are now commenting India that they will loose 0-2 to SA in tests and 1-2 in odi. Just like now there's much drama before champions trophy 2013 in which most of the Indian players are youngsters and not well experienced though. But what is the result INDIA IS THE CHAMPION. They adapted to those conditions, faced and executed well. The one who used to judge the result to be 0-2, 1-2,0-3 is not the football octopus to foresee the result. I hope team India have their plans and they will execute them well. CHEERS

  • GRVJPR on December 1, 2013, 17:15 GMT

    Dhoni will also enjoy young and athletic team at his disposal on big grounds this time. It was real problem for him hiding those 7 old players when India toured overseas last time. Best of luck captain cool.

  • Cricket_Fan_And_Analyst on December 1, 2013, 17:14 GMT

    Big Indian fan here , but I can't see how India is going to win a test this time.

  • CodandChips on December 1, 2013, 17:12 GMT

    @kunderan I wasnt ruling out Kohli and apologise for appearing that way. I wanted to add that having somebody supremely talented like Kohl as the only weakness is an incredibly strong position to be in. Dont forget also theyd have Jadeja as 12thman.

    I hugely fear the 5 match series in England coming up. Unless England pick the following soon to give them time to gell, I fear a big thrashing: 1.Cook 2.Root 3.Moeen 4.Balance 5. Taylor 6.Woakes/Stokes 7.Davies/Bairstow (wk) 8.Broad 9.Swann 10.Jordan 11.Finn. India went though a remarkable transition and weren't afraid to drop their legends. England need to follow suit.

  • on December 1, 2013, 17:10 GMT

    The previous tours had the old kings of the game and they could not do much unfortunately. This team has everything to win. The only way is upside, oversees cant be worse than 8 straight loses.

  • GRVJPR on December 1, 2013, 17:10 GMT

    What I don;t like about south africa is their tendency to create doctored pitches every time India goes there. I mean when they play australia even 434 runs are scored and chased down in ODI matches. When India plays even 190 is a match winning score. Clearly South Africa create flat tracks when play against teams with good pace attack, but when playing against India its all green and bouncy. But this time this strategy will bite them back. For starters they will not get cheap wicket due to loose shots from Sehwag and Gambhir. They will have to earn it.

  • GRVJPR on December 1, 2013, 17:04 GMT

    @ Englishfan, "India batsmen will have to leave 20 deliveries..." WHat is this. These are not kids playing international cricket. They know what to do, OK. If it is a half volley and pitch is a good one they will play shots. If they realise they need to wait and watch a bit they will do so. But please don't give them advise as if they don't know abc of cricket. I am fed up of this negative talks about our players. What the hell you wan't more from them. They are current world champions, number 2 test side in world even with young players.

  • GRVJPR on December 1, 2013, 17:01 GMT

    @ Englishfan, Man are you joking saying Kohli is a weak link. He has already doe will in Australia on pacy wickets with a century and 74 at perth where he ran out of partners and was forced to play shots and got out in process. KOHLI is the first name after DHONI in Indian team. No worries about him at all.

  • kunderan on December 1, 2013, 16:54 GMT

    Englishfan

    Fair comment, but don't rule out Kohli. He has improved and plays the fast bowlers better than before. I am hopeful he will do well.

  • insightfulcricketer on December 1, 2013, 16:51 GMT

    The key will be technical and mental adjustment of Indian batsmen & bowlers as if that was a secret :) Indian batsmen will have to leave twenty deliveries outside the stump by rote even at the risk of getting bowled . Leave the rising delivery eventually they will adjust or maybe not but at least they will get their best shot. Same with bowlers they will need to bowl at least a foot and a half up than in India.again at the risk of being driven down the ground but not doing so will let springbok batsmen feed on cut and pull which is staple for them. On paper dhoni has the tools but do these players have the mental discipline to adjust and keep atit? We will know the answer in 3 weeks of time.

  • GRVJPR on December 1, 2013, 16:48 GMT

    First and foremost the Indian team of ours should take it easy. It was not a fault of these youngsters that our team with experienced players lost 8-0 overseas. Youngsters like Kohli, Umesh, Ashwin did well even then. Now is the new beginning. As dhoni said it will be a learning curve. So many teams struggle through transition. Look at Australia for example. There is no shame even if we loose. It is number 1 test team and not a minnow like pakistan or sri lanka. But something tells me that this Indian Team is about to make history. Best of Luck my young guns. Whole India is backing you. Every day a rose flower in temple so that you can succeed from my side.

  • Vishal_07 on December 1, 2013, 16:45 GMT

    This what I like about Dhoni, stay calm, don't over-sway with emotions, and keep things in perspective. Now if only they have Plan B/Plan C ready in case Plan A doesn't work (remember those away Tests in Australia where the same strategy and same batting positions were played out innings after innings, and not surprisingly same results!) that might help!

  • CodandChips on December 1, 2013, 16:36 GMT

    From a neutral perspective, it's a great shame that this is only a 2 match test series. It will be a lot closer than the 5 match series India will be playing in England, which at the moment looks like a picnic for India. I see this series as a clash of the top 2 sides in cricket.

    South Africa are an excellent side. They have the best seam bowling attack, and playing Kallis and De Villiers allows them to bat down to 7. They will enjoy home advantage.

    BUT India are on the rise. They have a supremely talented batting lineup, & although it is inexperienced, should be able to handle the conditions. Dhawan looks fine off back foot. Rohit plays the pull. Rahane is exprienced vs quality pace bowling from IPL. Pujara & Vijay have good temperament. Dhoni's best shot is the pull.

    Yadav is quick. Bhuvi is accurate and swings it. Shami is reliable. Ashwin has had a good start to his career.

    The only Indian weak link is Kohli. He averages 40 and isn't too comfy vs pace.

    Should be great. 1-1.

  • on December 1, 2013, 16:28 GMT

    Its sad to see an important series getting very short time. by the time the players adjust to the conditions, the series will be over. I dont see the point of taking around 16-17 players for a short tour when you have domestic games being played at home. specially for someone like Ishant Sharma who certainly will not find a spot in the playing XI ahead of both Umesh Yadav and Mohit sharma. so why do we need to take some players when its certain that they wont be a part of the XI spcially when they can boost their confidence playing domestic cricket..

  • on December 1, 2013, 16:21 GMT

    It is a fresh team on the whole to play in South Africa which is the best team in the world. Old laurels will not work out. Every player must realise his responsibility and play well and to start with each one must score at the best 50 runs to give the team a good rapport and well supported in fielding and bowling. As a unit the team should play and in cricket no individuality is involved. Those days have gone with Tendulkar. Winning ODI ir Test match against is nto an easy joke.

  • devil_in_details on December 1, 2013, 16:20 GMT

    For the Indian fans , I would draw your attention to the most important thing that Dhoni said , which is crucial for the long term development of this young side : "There is no replacing anyone. He brings his own character into the side." Do not go by past templates, analyse carefully what each player brings to the side and then construct a new winning team-a team which would not be a copy of the older team or its players. In the days and months to come, as we enjoy the performance of this side and analyse / critic it, this is an important thing to be kept in mind for us fans too.

  • on December 1, 2013, 16:14 GMT

    Absolutely agree with brutalanalyst...u need at least 3 tests..... Having said that, this Indian team can play the pull shot well (Dhawan, Kohli, Dhoni, Rohit); so my guess is this tour will be far better than the previous 8 overseas thrashing.

  • on December 1, 2013, 16:07 GMT

    A 2 match series doesnt do justice to this contest. Well atleast there's the 5 test series in England and 4 Test series in Australia to look forward to next year.

  • sharidas on December 1, 2013, 16:02 GMT

    What I like about Dhoni, is that he is directly to the point. In India, we have a tendency to harp on the past. It is a new beginning and we are looking at a young team, with a lot of promise. I do believe, that they will do well in SA.

  • Naresh28 on December 1, 2013, 16:00 GMT

    For the doubters that Indian batters will struggle in SA look at this recent India A tour to SA :- http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/current/match/630769.html Although the pitch was not pacer, our batsman did really well. Pujara shone with a ton so did Rohit and Raina.

  • siddhartha87 on December 1, 2013, 15:56 GMT

    To be honest retirement of Tendulakr will be a blessing in disguise.SRT was averaging 31 in his last 3 years of his career. Rohit should do well in the series.He plays short ball pretty well.If Zaheer clicks the series may end at 1-1.Otherwise it will 0-1 imo

  • on December 1, 2013, 15:39 GMT

    If India are to perform well in South Africa, there bowlers have to be up to the task.. I'm afraid they'd be thrashed like they were in Australia & England.. Dhoni, aware if the situation, feels so. It looks much evident that there much famed batting line is not going to fare well like they did in India recently.. They'll badly miss Sehwag there..

  • BRUTALANALYST on December 1, 2013, 15:35 GMT

    2 matches doesn't constitute a series I wish Dhoni would stand up to BCCI and actually demand they play a proper series the fact he hasn't even spoke out make me believe he is also happy about playing 2 games. 3 games should be minimal you cannot call 2 matches a series this is supposed to be battle for no1 spot. These 2 teams demand a series of 4 or 5 matches it's just so disappointing for Test cricket and the cricket world we are only getting 2.

  • ODI_BestFormOfCricket on December 1, 2013, 15:29 GMT

    gambhir and sehwag passed their prime. Sehwag never played in 4th innings and gambhir misserably failed against eng in eng and india. Poor performance by Sehwag and gambhir against eng in india was the main reason for historic series loss. Had vijay played, result would hav different.

  • on December 1, 2013, 15:23 GMT

    @Gaurav Kapoor, yeah Badrinath didn't light the world on fire when he got his chance, neither did Rohit for 2 and a half years (even Jadeja in his earlier years), he got the spot that Badri probably deserved, don't forget that Badri has only played I think 2 test matches and a handful of ODI's, honestly terrible considering the quality of the guy and the runs he racks up, every single season.

  • kc69 on December 1, 2013, 15:23 GMT

    Starting with ODIs India will have a lot better chance of winning the series but when it comes to tests I think Indian batsmen will have to do something extraordinary to win even a single test match.

  • RMCroos on December 1, 2013, 15:20 GMT

    For me its simple INDIA will loose the series both ODI and Test !!!!! I dont think they will score 250 runs in test innings in south africa............... but they may win the T20???????

  • on December 1, 2013, 15:19 GMT

    we sincerely hope and wish India should play combative , competitive cricket in South Africa , notwithstanding whatever outcome is .Dhoni is a seasoned campaniener , and has learnt a lot from disasterous tour of England & Australia , not too long Ago , thus It won,t to wrong to expect , much better showing .

  • on December 1, 2013, 15:16 GMT

    I think the stage is set.. the young brigade had a good start.. in home season . This is very good lesson for them. they will come out strong wat ever happens. for people still hanging on to whether Sachin should have gone earlier have their point. But should now see it in a different angle. this point was also raised by Lara. after the Disaster in England and Australia. and after Dravid and Laksman was pushed to retirement as i still believe, A Tendulkar in the dressing room and nets wud have been a Good inspiration and a freedom to Express rather than feeling under pressure now. During England series we replaced Sehwag and Gambhir too ..Kohlis Dhawans Pujara Rohit got the perfect entry. and wit confidence. Sachin gone now transition is smooth. Actually one replacement neednt come straight as we can go with Jadeja also at 7. No complaints Lets look upto to a very fascinating tour. Only bad feeling is we should have had 3 test. instead of 2 .

  • on December 1, 2013, 15:14 GMT

    If Zaheer and Co can get their acts together, they can make the South Africans dance to their tunes.It happened in 2010 when if not for a stubborn Jaques Kallis and Mark Boucher (in the final test) South Africa would have lost the series , comfortably. Even in 2006 India was level 1-1 and due to bad batting in one single session , cost us the series. Indian bowlers have always had the measure of South African batsmen in recent times. If the bowl were to swing and seam then the South Africans had it this time around too. If the Indian batters dent the SA new ball for about 20 odd overs initially, then they can make merry. It was recently proven by the Pakistanis and even the Sri Lankans, where the likes of Samaraweera, and Sangakkara , Younis Khan made their first centuries in South Africa. It is only when the SAfricans taste blood with the new ball that they become dangerous.

  • on December 1, 2013, 15:09 GMT

    India is lucky to have dhoni as captain in its transition stage.... under his captaincy India recoverd too quickly, unlike aus who are still struggling to find replacements....anyway....I am hoping for some surprises in this series....no doubt this is inexperienced team. but these guys are quick learners and they have played these guys before in IPL, but this is different game.... pujara, dhawan, kohli is the key in batting, zaheer and bhuvi are the key in bowling.... hope dhoni gives no games to ishant and JADEJA in tests....

  • on December 1, 2013, 15:09 GMT

    Why do we keep calling the current team an inexperienced one? it is more or less the same team that India has fielded in tests in the last one year. Yes, the retirement of Sachin Tendulkar will be a big negative not just because of the experience he has had on the pitches and his talent, but also for the advice he could pass on to the others. But still the current lot is not inexperienced. They have had enough exposure at the international level to be able to take the pressure and to be able to acclimatise to unfamiliar playing conditions.

  • on December 1, 2013, 15:07 GMT

    Yet definitely Gambhir, Munaf, Harbajan,Yousuf, Irfan, Dinesh karthik, Praveen Kumar, and a few others who have done well for India should have been considered. Even Shewag, Manoj Tiwary, Nehra, Uthappa, and Vinay should be thought of as also Nayar and Joginder Sharma.

  • silentstand on December 1, 2013, 14:59 GMT

    Even though I'm backing the saffas I wish captain cool good luck.he's a good guy and cricket thinker.

  • on December 1, 2013, 14:57 GMT

    Al_Bundy: how can one batting spot block 3 players from entering the team? Tiwary, Badrinath etc have been outbatted by Virat and Rohit. Badri didnt light the world on fire when he batted anyways so could care less.

  • on December 1, 2013, 14:47 GMT

    The chances of India challenging the Proteas is very high on this tour. If there is one deficiency then it is the experience, otherwise this squad of players will make a statement for sure in SA. In the last tour, India did pretty well to salvage a drawn series after being pummeled to submission in their first outing. Pujara will be the key in this series and Kohli can really scale to greatness if he performs well. The pace battery looks complete with Zaheer being back and the skiddy Shami along with pacey Umesh can form a lethal combination. Remember that SA suffered when Sree did swing the ball at genuine pace in the last tour there. While SA certainly enjoys the knowledge of conditions and a deadly pace attack, India can match them if they play to their potential. While not being experienced is a slight chink in Ind's armory, its raw talent can throw surprises too. ODI start to the tour will settle this squad nicely going into the test series. A great contest on cards awaits us.

  • Eat_Sleep_Play_Cricket on December 1, 2013, 14:42 GMT

    Well played Captain Cool! Backing the team irrespective of the result makes Dhoni the best Skipper and miles apart from other captains. Cant wait to see TEAM india back on #1 on test rankings #1 t20 rankings and continue dominance as #1 team in ODI. #WorldChampions

  • Crick_Expert on December 1, 2013, 14:40 GMT

    BCCI should give chance to new talented players. Kohli should be ODI/T20 CAPT. Dhoni should be focus on TEST only.

  • on December 1, 2013, 14:40 GMT

    As much Indians are afraid of SA bowling that much SA bowlers afraid of (On song) Indian Batsmen because most of the people are in form and in good confidence that confidence will defiantly helps our Batsmen dis time dhoni can relax a little bit in dressing room and watch our young Batsmen perform, and our bowlers will do better than last-time in my opinion. Finally i don't what happened to Indian fans lately they are being too negative about this team, are they don't like the players or what ? i don't understand

  • Al_Bundy1 on December 1, 2013, 14:32 GMT

    "If possible, we will omit the No. 4 position," Dhoni joked. This shows what a great thinker Dhoni is. He might be our greatest cricketing brain - India's equivalent of captain Imran Khan. To be sure, Ganguly was a great thinker too. Tendulkar and Dravid - though great batsmen, lacked this ability to think for the whole team. Tendulkar overstayed for 2 years too long. In the process he blocked the path of many budding batsmen like Manoj Tiwary, Badrinath, Rahane, etc.

  • Al_Bundy1 on December 1, 2013, 14:32 GMT

    "If possible, we will omit the No. 4 position," Dhoni joked. This shows what a great thinker Dhoni is. He might be our greatest cricketing brain - India's equivalent of captain Imran Khan. To be sure, Ganguly was a great thinker too. Tendulkar and Dravid - though great batsmen, lacked this ability to think for the whole team. Tendulkar overstayed for 2 years too long. In the process he blocked the path of many budding batsmen like Manoj Tiwary, Badrinath, Rahane, etc.

  • on December 1, 2013, 14:40 GMT

    As much Indians are afraid of SA bowling that much SA bowlers afraid of (On song) Indian Batsmen because most of the people are in form and in good confidence that confidence will defiantly helps our Batsmen dis time dhoni can relax a little bit in dressing room and watch our young Batsmen perform, and our bowlers will do better than last-time in my opinion. Finally i don't what happened to Indian fans lately they are being too negative about this team, are they don't like the players or what ? i don't understand

  • Crick_Expert on December 1, 2013, 14:40 GMT

    BCCI should give chance to new talented players. Kohli should be ODI/T20 CAPT. Dhoni should be focus on TEST only.

  • Eat_Sleep_Play_Cricket on December 1, 2013, 14:42 GMT

    Well played Captain Cool! Backing the team irrespective of the result makes Dhoni the best Skipper and miles apart from other captains. Cant wait to see TEAM india back on #1 on test rankings #1 t20 rankings and continue dominance as #1 team in ODI. #WorldChampions

  • on December 1, 2013, 14:47 GMT

    The chances of India challenging the Proteas is very high on this tour. If there is one deficiency then it is the experience, otherwise this squad of players will make a statement for sure in SA. In the last tour, India did pretty well to salvage a drawn series after being pummeled to submission in their first outing. Pujara will be the key in this series and Kohli can really scale to greatness if he performs well. The pace battery looks complete with Zaheer being back and the skiddy Shami along with pacey Umesh can form a lethal combination. Remember that SA suffered when Sree did swing the ball at genuine pace in the last tour there. While SA certainly enjoys the knowledge of conditions and a deadly pace attack, India can match them if they play to their potential. While not being experienced is a slight chink in Ind's armory, its raw talent can throw surprises too. ODI start to the tour will settle this squad nicely going into the test series. A great contest on cards awaits us.

  • on December 1, 2013, 14:57 GMT

    Al_Bundy: how can one batting spot block 3 players from entering the team? Tiwary, Badrinath etc have been outbatted by Virat and Rohit. Badri didnt light the world on fire when he batted anyways so could care less.

  • silentstand on December 1, 2013, 14:59 GMT

    Even though I'm backing the saffas I wish captain cool good luck.he's a good guy and cricket thinker.

  • on December 1, 2013, 15:07 GMT

    Yet definitely Gambhir, Munaf, Harbajan,Yousuf, Irfan, Dinesh karthik, Praveen Kumar, and a few others who have done well for India should have been considered. Even Shewag, Manoj Tiwary, Nehra, Uthappa, and Vinay should be thought of as also Nayar and Joginder Sharma.

  • on December 1, 2013, 15:09 GMT

    Why do we keep calling the current team an inexperienced one? it is more or less the same team that India has fielded in tests in the last one year. Yes, the retirement of Sachin Tendulkar will be a big negative not just because of the experience he has had on the pitches and his talent, but also for the advice he could pass on to the others. But still the current lot is not inexperienced. They have had enough exposure at the international level to be able to take the pressure and to be able to acclimatise to unfamiliar playing conditions.

  • on December 1, 2013, 15:09 GMT

    India is lucky to have dhoni as captain in its transition stage.... under his captaincy India recoverd too quickly, unlike aus who are still struggling to find replacements....anyway....I am hoping for some surprises in this series....no doubt this is inexperienced team. but these guys are quick learners and they have played these guys before in IPL, but this is different game.... pujara, dhawan, kohli is the key in batting, zaheer and bhuvi are the key in bowling.... hope dhoni gives no games to ishant and JADEJA in tests....