Russell Domingo says India will seriously test the South African national team when the month-long series gets under way in Johannesburg on Thursday. After losing 2-1 in the ODI series against Pakistan last week, the Proteas coach knows high-flying India will be tough nuts to crack. (Click here for full coverage of India's tour of South Africa)
"It's a big gauge for us," Domingo said ahead of his team's training session at the Wanderers stadium on Tuesday. "We have won five of our last eight ODI's so we are heading in the right direction, there is no doubt about that. We know India is going to be a tough assignment for us, they are coming off outstanding performances albeit in Indian conditions, but we are really looking forward to it," he said.
Domingo took over the national team in August after Gary Kirsten declined to extend his contract due to personal reasons. The 38-year-old is the first person of colour to take charge of the national team and is aiming to build on a team that became No. 1 in Tests under Kirsten. The India series, he reckons, will prove if South Africa are headed the right way with the 2015 World Cup in mind. "We need to see where we are going and if we are going in the right direction," Domingo said.
The South African team management has a nice headache. It's probably a problem of plenty as Jacques Kallis is fit to play and Dale Steyn is raring to go. Domingo knows the impact Kallis can make and that the veteran all-rounder has a great record against the Indians.
"Jacques is three players in one," Domingo said. "It's great to see him playing again and I'm sure he is enjoying it. It does pose some selection challenges. It's not easy selecting a side because the guys that have played in the past have done well individually even though the team hasn't done well. When Jacques Kallis is available, fit and in good form, any coach would have him in his team." (Jacques Kallis: A player South Africa deserved)
It's all building up nicely to the first match of the series as India will aim to keep their juggernaut rolling with a bunch of bravehearts not overawed by South Africa's intimidating playing conditions. (Also read: Dhoni promises exciting cricket)