India will play South Africa in three Tests, five One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and three Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is). The first of the Tests will begin on January 5 in Cape Town.
After a brilliant season at home, where they were unbeaten in all the series in every format; Team India now faces challenges outside India starting with the Proteas matches. Indian coach Ravi Shastri has called for the squad to be excited about the South Africa tour and play like the no.1 ranked team they are.
"We know how tough this tour of South Africa is. That's the beauty about their profession -- wanting challenges and embracing it and that's what we are looking for," Shastri said at the pre-departure media conference.
He continued, "We toured Australia in 2014 and we did a pretty good job. We have done well in England. In 2015, we toured Sri Lanka and it had great tracks on which the ball seamed and swung. So preparation has been good."
Shastri says that the same group of players has been playing for last 3-4 years and has cultivated good understanding amongst themselves.
"These boys have been on the road together for the last 4-5 years -- the same team. The nucleus has been the same so that should help a long way,” he said.
However, he underlined the fact that this Team India’s legacy will be defined on how they perform during the upcoming 18 months of overseas tours of South Africa, England, Australia and New Zealand.
Shastri said, "One and half years will define Indian cricket. Tour of South Africa, Australia, and England. This will be a better team after this 18 months."
Indian captain Virat Kohli, who will be back at the helm, after missing the limited-overs leg of Sri Lanka series; said, "Cricket is played with bat and ball. Conditions don't matter. I have no doubt in the ability of the team. We are on the right track. You need to play cricket for a long period of time to win abroad. The hunger this time is the same. We want to do what we couldn't the last time around."