Dhoni: SA pitches a challenge
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (File)
Cape Town - India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni says their tour in South Africa will be a big learning curve for their batsmen.
India arrived in Johannesburg on Monday for a three-match one-day series, which will be followed by two Tests.
Indian teams in the past have always struggled on the South African wickets that offer more pace and bounce, and Dhoni feels it could be a real baptism of fire for a few of their batsmen.
"I'm actually very happy we start with the one-day games before the Tests," he told the Beeld website.
"It gives the batsmen a chance to go out in the one-day games and play their shots without inhibitions and get rid of some nerves.
"The batsmen need to express themselves and carry that freedom into the Tests.
"I'm happy that a few of these young batsmen will now get exposure to conditions outside the subcontinent.
"The pace and bounce of the South African pitches will be a big challenge. I see this tour a learning process for our players.
"It's definitely a big challenge away from home. South Africa's bowlers know what lengths to bowl on their own pitches and where to pitch the ball. Our batsmen must get them to bowl at them and not go and chase the deliveries."
India tackle the tour without old stalwarts like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir.
New starts like Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina must now step up if they are to achieve success in South African conditions.
The first ODI is scheduled for the Wanderers on Thursday.