Cape Town: South Africa coach Ottis Gibson has warned his team that India may prove to be tough opponents during the upcoming three-match Test series.
“They are currently ranked number one and they’ve got a lot of world class players and world class players aren’t just world class in their own back yards,” Gibson told the media here.
“They’re a very good team and I think they will travel a lot better now. We know for sure that it is going to be a tough series. I don’t think you’re going to see them fold as much as they may have done in the past,” he added.
The wicket for the first Test — which begins here on January 5 — shows a distinct green tinge. With fast bowlers Kagiso Rabada, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel set to take the field for South Africa, Gibson hoped the hosts will be able to enjoy the upper hand.
“I’m not expecting it to change too much between now and Friday,” the Proteas coach said when asked about the wicket.
Gibson has had previous experience against the Indian team. He was England’s bowling coach in 2016 during their disastrous tour of India, which saw them crash 0-4 in a five-match Test series.
However, the 48-year-old is confident that a full strength South African pace attack will be able to give a tough challenge to the Indian batting line-up.
“They were too good for us. They played really well and were led very well by the captain, who got a lot of runs. There were times in those conditions where we couldn’t get him out,” Gibson recalled.
“I think in these conditions it will be a lot different. We’ll have some plans for him as we will for every other player in the team,” he added.
Gibson also felt that the current Proteas pace attack was the best the country has had in a long time, which gives a strong chance to win the upcoming three-match Test series.
“This attack has Steyn, Morkel, Rabada, Philander, Chris Morris and Keshav Maharaj, who is a world class spinner. Perhaps the best that the country has had for a long time,” he said.
“It’s a world class bowling attack and we just have to try and come up with the right combination to go and win this Test match.”