South Africa vs India 2018: Rohit Sharma names the biggest threats for India in Test series
The elegant right-hander has lavished praise on South Africa's bowling attack.
What's the story?
Ahead of the upcoming Test series against South Africa, Rohit Sharma has opened up on the biggest threats for India from the opposition camp. The elegant right-hander hailed the Proteas' potent pace attack as the most challenging bowling unit in the world at the moment. Notwithstanding the experienced duo's lack of game time, he also insisted that the visitors will have to be cautious against Dale Steyn and AB de Villiers.
"Their (South Africa's) bowling attack is the most challenging (one) in the world right now. Any home team tends to put a lot of pressure on the touring side. It will be Rabada, Steyn, and one between Philander and Morkel. They might play also an all-rounder like Chris Morris", Rohit told Hindustan Times.
The 30-year old added, "Steyn had a shoulder surgery, he is playing after almost an year - that is a long lay-off. (But) with his experience, I do not think there will be a problem. Obviously, all eyes will be on him and (AB) de Villliers as they have not played much of late."
In the past...
During his maiden Test series outside India, Rohit struggled against Philander's guile in 2013. In the first-innings of the Johannesburg Test and second-innings of the Durban Test, he fell prey to the probing seamer.
The heart of the matter
Plenty has changed for both Rohit as well as the Indian Test team since their previous trip to South Africa. After Virat Kohli took over the captaincy mantle from MS Dhoni, the team improved by leaps and bounds to emerge as a dominant force.
India are currently on a joint-highest record streak of nine consecutive Test series wins. However, the forthcoming series against South Africa will see them play away from home against a world-class opposition for the first time in almost three years.
While de Villiers returned to the Test team in their innings victory over Zimbabwe, the Proteas are still awaiting Steyn's long-pending comeback from injury. With the 34-year old likely to spearhead the pace attack, the team management can potentially form a four-pronged pace attack also comprising Rabada, Philander and Morkel.
Should the pitches take even a hint of turn, South Africa possess an in-form left-arm spinner in Keshav Maharaj. The presence of seam all-rounders such as Morris and Andile Phehlukwayo will provide them with plenty of other options as well.
The first Test between South Africa and India will begin at Newlands Cricket Ground in Cape Town on January 5. The second and third Tests are slated to be held in Centurion and Johannesburg respectively.
Considering that India had greeted them with rank turners in the 2015 series, it remains to be seen what type of pitches lay in wait in the Rainbow Nation. The deciding factor of the Test series could be the face-off between India's batting juggernaut and South Africa's menacing pace attack.