Senior India batsman Rahul Dravid has warned South Africa that they could be making a big mistake if they prepare green-top pitches for the Test series starting next week as his side also possess no less a potent pace battery than the home side.
Dravid, who was among the second batch of Indians landed at coach Gary Kirsten's academy for pre-tour preparations, said his side's seam bowlers also have the ability to make the most of ideal fast-bowling conditions.
"It will be a very competitive series, but I believe if our seam bowlers Zaheer (Khan) and Ishant (Sharma) and Sreesanth can remain fit throughout the series, we will do very well," said Dravid at the Claremont Club Academy.
Dravid said he expects the three-match Test series to be fought fiercely but any attempt by South Africa to prepare fast-bowling friendly pitches could backfire.
"South Africa is an excellent team, especially in South African conditions -- and we will have to play excellent cricket to beat them," Dravid was quoted as saying by Sport24.
This stylish batsman disagreed that a series defeat by India would mean that South Africa are the world's top Test-playing nation.
"No, we have shown in the last four or five years that we can play everywhere. We did well in Australia and England and have even won a Test here in South Africa on the last tour," he added.
He acknowledged that batsmen like Suresh Raina and Gautam Gambhir have never played a Test match in South Africa but said the new generation of Indians are much more prepared to achieve success on foreign soil than when he was cutting his teeth in international cricket.
"Today's guys play much more outside India. Most of them were in South Africa either on A-team or U-19 tours and some of them have even played in the Indian Premier League or the Champion's League," Dravid said.
The first match of the series begins at the SuperSport Park at Centurion on December 16.