Written byAyush Gupta
South Africa are all set to take on India in a three-Test series for the Gandhi-Mandela Trophy, starting October 2 in Visakhapatnam.
As the visitors managed to draw their three-day warm-up match against Board Presidents XI, they did come up with a fine bowling performance.
Meanwhile, South African pacer Vernon Philander is looking forward to the challenge of playing Men In Blue, in India.
Following the warm-up game, Philander said that he felt good after having played the tie.
He also said that gaining early game-time prior to the series has boosted his confidence.
"Mainly, it's just about getting a feel for the wickets. It is going to be a tough series, obviously, so the more time you spend out there in the middle, the better," he said.
Philander said despite the focus being on top players, they would aim to deliver the opening blow to India, who are outright favorites to perform well on their home track.
"This time around, we have to start well. There is a lot of pressure on players, [but then], it's international cricket and you want to keep it that way," he asserted.
"We are obviously prepared to do well. When we do well, it gives you that better confidence and I'll take that confidence with me. It's been a long winter for me and I am feeling in really good nick," added Philander.
Philander backed the idea of ICC Test Championship as it would allow them to play against great opponents more often.
While they are off to a tough start in their campaign, Philander says they have always wanted it.
"All of us are looking forward to this challenge and there are a lot of player-to-player challenges. Can't wait to get going," he continued.
Philander added that while there are not many senior players in the side, they would look to use the experience of the available veterans.
"Hopefully, we can use the experience of the senior players that are still around and mold this into a good Test side. That's the most important part, to lay a good foundation for players to take forward," he concluded.
Considering the previous performance of Proteas in Tests in India, their last series win came in 1999-2000, when they registered a 2-0 clean sweep.
Their last Test series in India was in 2015-16, where India triumphed 3-0.
As for Philander himself, he would be up for a test, having played just a Test in India, scoring mere four runs and claiming only three wickets.
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