India no longer a mystery - Kallis
South Africa stand-in captain Jacques Kallis is hoping lessons gleaned from stints in the Indian Premier League will help his team in the three-match one-day series against India, which starts in Jaipur on Sunday.
The two teams shared a two-Test series 1-1, India emerging winners in a brilliant second Test at Kolkata to retain their position at the top of the International Cricket Council Test rankings.
India, however, have struggled to translate the superiority they have shown in Tests into the shorter formats of the game and Kallis hopes knowledge gained from association with India’s players during the IPL will give his team the edge.
“A lot of teams are adapting to the conditions in the sub-continent a lot better because of spending more time here,” said Kallis.
“You end up playing with a lot of Indian players during the IPL, so you see how they do things and how their mentality works.
“All of that does help and players all around the world are learning how to adapt better here now.”
Kallis was appointed skipper after Graeme Smith was ruled out due to a finger injury.
He leads a slightly different team from the one on duty in the Test series, with the likes of opening batsman Herschelle Gibbs, off-spinner Roelof van der Merwe and all-rounder Albie Morkel – all of whom have IPL contracts - back in the ranks.
South Africa will be bolstered by the return of wicketkeeper Mark Boucher, who missed the second Test due to a back injury.
“Boucher is on track with his recovery, and we are confident he will play on Sunday,” said Michael Owen-Smith, South Africa’s media manager.
Hashim Amla, top-scorer in the Test series with centuries in both innings at the Eden Gardens and a double century in the first Test in Nagpur, was originally not part of the one-day squad, but is now in for Smith.
The home side, still euphoric over the victory in Kolkata, will field a team considerably weakened due to injuries.
Batsman Gautam Gambhir, prolific hitter Yuvraj Singh and strike bowler Zaheer Khan have been ruled out, while off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has been granted leave to attend his sister’s wedding.
Their absence offers several fringe players such as Yusuf Pathan, Dinesh Karthik and Praveen Kumar a chance to shine.
The series presents another battle for position in the ICC one-day rankings as South Africa can dislodge India from second place should they secure a series victory. Australia sit atop the rankings.