Mumbai: In spite of winning both the T20 and One-Day International series, South Africa don't hold any significant psychological advantage going into the four-Test rubber against hosts India, said visiting team opener Stiaan Van Zyl here on Thursday.
"The (South African) boys are confident after playing well in ODIs and T20s, but Test match is a different ball game. I think India will be up for the challenge," said the five-Test-old opener after the squad's practise session ahead of the two-day game against Board President's XI from tomorrow.
"Coming here and playing against the quality players - the (Virat) Kohlis of the world - is a great challenge. They (Indians) know what to do in their backyard," said the 28-year-old cricketer who scored a century on his Test debut against the West Indies last year after having made his first class debut in 2006.
He expects spin bowling to pose a significant challenge to him and other teammates and said he had a decent stint earlier this year with the South Africa A squad.
"Yes, definitely. Coming here it's obvious wickets are different, a lot slower and spin a lot," said the converted left landed batsman who is a natural right hander in most other walks of life, including right arm medium pace bowling.
"I had a decent outing in Kerala (at Wayanad with the A team against India A where he even made a 96), got a bit of confidence going into the big (four-Test) series. I did okay in subcontinent (including two Tests in Bangladesh), but obviously it's a different kind of challenge."
"It's about spending batting time in the middle against the spinners and backing my skills," he said about his knock of 96.
Asked about the difference between playing in Bangladesh and Kerala, he said the wickets were quite different.
"Chittagong was quite a good wicket. The sub continent wickets are normally slower and you need to wait longer, play the ball later. From Chittagong to Kerala - it was quite a greenish wicket (first game) and the second game was a testing wicket, spinning quite big."
Asked what the team's batting consultant Michael Hussey, who joined them yesterday, told the South African batsmen, Van Zyl said the former Australia cricketer advised to play on the back foot.
"He just spent some time today, first day. Indian wickets are slow and he advised (us) to play more on the back foot. He's played a lot here and in IPL and knows what the wickets do here."
He said it was good to have senior players with a lot of experience of batting in Indian conditions, like skipper Hashim Amla, ODI captain A B de Villiers and T20 leader Faf du Plessis to turn to for advice.
"it's fortunate for the younger players to talk to these guys who know a lot about these stadiums, what wickets turn a lot (etcetera). Having Hussey is also a help."
Asked whether he saw himself bowling quite a bit in the series, Van zyl said he considered himself as an all rounder.
"I think myself as a bit of an all rounder. Obviously I can bowl a bit and am looking forward to give some rest to the main bowlers (when the time comes during games)," he said.
He said one reason for South Africa's consistently good show outside of home was their fighting spirit.
"We have the never say die attitude, the fast bowlers will keep running in even when they don't get wickets. We also have quality players," he said.