Rice rates Indian bowlers higher than South Africa`s

Johannesburg: Former Proteas skipper Clive Rice rated the India bowling attack higher than South Africa`s and said the home bowlers would struggle to take 20 wickets against a batting line-up, which boasts of the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag, in the Test series starting next week.

Rice said there will be a lot of pressure on the South African opening bowlers Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel to run through the Indian batting power.

"They can take several wickets between them, but it is too much to ask that they should take out India twice in a Test," said Rice who led South Africa for the first time after their return to international cricket post the apartheid era, against India in 1991.

"The Indians have a well-balanced team, with their spinners and fast bowlers who can combine excellently and are a threat on any pitch," Rice was quoted as saying by website `Sport24`.

Contrary to the belief of many who feels that fast bowlers would play a big role in the outcome of the series starting on December 16 at Centurion, Rice said the spinners would be the difference.

"With the Indian spinners being so much better than South Africa`s, I believe that could be the difference in the series," Rice said.

He said the local knowledge of the coaching team of Gary Kirsten, Eric Simmons and Paddy Upton would help India in a big way in the Test series.

"Their knowledge of local conditions will play a big role. India will be better prepared than they were before and, with Gary`s fantastic management style, I believe they should be regarded as the favourites in this series," says Rice.

"Under Greg Chappell`s coaching the Indians had much talent, but they were very erratic. Now that Gary is there, he has united them into a tight unit and all the players play to the full extent of their talents on the playing field."

He said the series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates had given South Africa a false impression of their abilities and that the home team will be cut down to size against India.

On Graeme Smith`s availability for the series after the injury while playing against Pakistan in UAE, Rice said if he is not available, Johan Botha would be his choice for the captaincy.

"I believe he is much more dynamic as captain and under him South Africa will flourish more in all aspects of the game than is currently the case. He would also be my number one spinner."


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