I think pressure is on India: Smith

Centurion: Being the number one team in the world, India will be under tremendous pressure to maintain their consistency on hostile away conditions in the three-match Test series beginning here tomorrow, said South Africa captain Graeme Smith.

The left-hander was of the view that although Mahendra Singh Dhoni`s men have tasted success over a period of time now, a good show in the upcoming Test series against the Proteas will go on to prove their supremacy at the world stage.

"India has been successful over a period of time. But I think if you are number one in the world, you got to be consistently performing around the world. There`s no doubt about that. As much as you are strong at home, you need to be strong away from home too. So, I think that pressure is on India," Smith said on the eve of the series opener.

He was candid when asked whether the series is a fight for Test supremacy as was being touted in the cricketing fraternity, saying the Proteas cannot wait anymore to take the field tomorrow.

"We have been fortunate in a way that we have been touching the number one and number two spot for the last two-and-a-half years or so. We have had battles against Australia when they were number one and we were number two and vice-versa. We are really excited about this opportunity,"
Smith said.

"This is a big series and we are look forward to it. It`s great to have these sort of series. It`s great to play against top teams. It`s great for the fans too," he added.

Smith himself induged in some pressure tactics when he said that going by Virender Sehwag`s past record in South African conditions, he will have chinks in his armour going into tomorrow`s match.

"I think it`s important to note that he (Sehwag) has been very successful against us in the sub-continent. But in the last Test of India`s last tour we had him sliding down to number five or six. He`s probably got a few demons that he needs to put right in these conditions," he said.

"He is a quality player and really does take a lot of pressure off the rest of their line-up with the way that he plays. We have got plans but the execution of those plans is always crucial. Hopefully, we can get it right and if we can knock Sehwag over, which will put the rest of their line-up under pressure," the South African skipper noted.

Smith, however, sounded a warning to his team-mates, saying that the present Indian team is the most experienced side in the world and have the potential to acclimatise to any conditions.

"It`s a difficult one always to answer whether it is the best Indian team but it certainly is one of the most experienced Indian teams," he said.

"They have got a lot of players who have travelled around the world playing cricket and been around for a very long time. So they have got a lot of experience.”

"They should know how to adapt to the surfaces that they are facing. Someone said the other night that Sachin (Tendulkar) first came here in 1992. He has probably seen more South African wickets than even I have!" Smith candidly accepted.

Talking about the SuperSport Park, he said this great venue has always provided exciting contest between the bat and ball.

"It`s rare today to see traditional cricket grounds, the grass embankments and stuff which is here. Unlike most stadiums in the world, this still has got a real family feel to it and it`s a ground where we have been really successful.”

"It always provided good, exciting cricket. Generally, there is reward for both batsmen and bowlers on this wicket. It`s a ground where we like being at. I expect a lot more seam on this wicket. That`s something both the batting units have to adapt to throughout the five days," Smith said.

He also said that he was happy with the overall preparation of the team and especially with his rehabilitation after the finger injury.

"It`s been a quicker recovery than I think anybody expected. I have done exactly what I was required to do in this whole period. I am really excited that I have been able to come through like I have," Smith stressed.


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