India coach Ravi Shastri believes his side will be “up for the challenge” in the upcoming three-match Test series in South Africa.
The much-anticipated series starts at Newlands on 5 January with the other two games in Centurion and Johannesburg.
India, who are top-ranked team in Test cricket, have never won a Test series in South Africa as they have always struggled to adapt to the pace and bounce of the pitches compared to the slower surfaces they are use to back home.
Shastri, however, feels that the current India side is very experienced in all conditions and also have the fast bowlers to trouble the home side’s batsmen.
Speaking in Cape Town, Shastri said: “This team is up for the challenge. If you had asked me four years ago if it was up for the challenge, I would have said no.
“This team has gained in experience now. We have bench strength in our fast bowling department which is key in taking 20 wickets.
“The beauty about this team is that it doesn’t matter who the opposition is. We respect all oppositions. We look at the pitch and adapt to those conditions. It’s as simple as that.”
The Proteas will also have revenge on their minds as they suffered a series defeat in India in 2015, with all those Tests played on slow, turning surfaces.
The pitches for the upcoming series with most likely be bouncy and hard but Shastri played down the impact the conditions will have in the games and defended India’s results away from the sub-continent.
The India coach continued: “Tell me one team in world cricket that has travelled well over the last two years?
“For us, every game is a home game. You see the pitch and you adapt, no excuses, no complaints. Two teams have to play on that pitch. If you want to be rated as a side, you adapt to those conditions.
“Leave all their other the crap aside and get out there and compete.”
By Nasri Alexander