South African captain Graeme Smith says that India are the favourites for the upcoming two-match Test series which begins in Nagpur on Saturday, 6th February.
Talking to the media ahead of the game, which pits the top two sides in the ICC Test rankings against each other, he said:
"India have been playing good cricket, that is why they are ranked No. 1. We will concentrate on our own game. We know that if we perform to our levels and our standards we can put India under a lot of pressure. Any time you come to India it is always very tough, so we probably start as underdogs.
“I would say India are favourites, so from our perspective we know we have got to play good cricket but we are confident of our own ability.”
South Africa narrowly missed a series win in India two years ago when they drew 1-1 having gone into the final Test in Kanpur 1-0 up but Smith hopes that they can build on recent Test series wins in Bangladesh and Pakistan during his tenure as captain and he doesn't believe the recent departure of head coach Mickey Arthur will adversely affect the team.
“Our recent record on the sub-continent is pretty good," he said. "We won in Pakistan, we won in Bangladesh and we came very close to winning a series here in India. We were 1-0 up going into the last Test match. Generally we have done well and we have a very positive mindset about playing on the sub-continent. This squad has been together for a period of time and we really enjoy coming to India. It is a pleasure to play here and it is a challenge because you know if you play well here, it is a real feather in your cap.
“There are few teams who have come here and won here. But we have won in England and we have won in Australia so this is our opportunity to tick this particular box as a team. Beating a major opponent on their home ground is a real achievement and it is a wonderful opportunity for this group of players.
“As far as having a new coach in Corrie is concerned, we have worked together before and we had a good session today. The players are all going about their work as normal to make sure we are all prepared as best as we can be come Saturday.”
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