Former India batsman Sachin Tendulkar has called on the Indian team on tour of South Africa to exploit the experience 'vaccum' in the hosts' line-up to script a maiden series win the Rainbow Nation.
The legendary batsman, who played for India from 1989-2014, during which he scored five centuries in the African nation, is of the view that the present Indian cricket team has the perfect balance to challenge the Africans on their home soil.
"In my 24 years with the Indian Test team we never had the balance this team has. The man who brings in such versatility is Hardik Pandya. A guy who can bowl 17-18 overs and is perfectly capable of scoring runs at No 7 or 8 is an asset. This is going to be Pandya’s biggest series and Virat will be banking on him," Tendulkar was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.
While conceding that the upcoming year and a half will be the 'toughest' phase of Virat Kohli's career so far, Tendulkar also stressed home the point that South Africa is, at present not as strong as they have been in the past.
"I'm not saying they're not a good team. They've been among the best at home and away over a sustained period of time. But they don't enjoy the luxury they did when the likes of McMillan and Kallis were around. I'm talking about a time when a batsman in the team could be that extra bowler or that bowler in the team could be counted upon to score the runs," said Tendulkar, according to a report on Times of India.
"Their pace attack is at the weakest now with Steyn rusty, and Philander and Morkel still not at their best," added Tendulkar.
Tendulkar also advised the visiting batsman to play with 'discipline,' which he terms will be the key for a batsman to succeed in the pacy conditions of South Africa.
"Discipline. That's the key. And then it's about footwork, but footwork is more about the mind. If the mind is free, then the feet are free. These are two important aspects. A lot depends on what state of mind you are in, whether you're complicating things inside your mind or just keeping it simple," said the legendary batsman.
Although the former opener didn't go into the specific details when quizzed about the playing XI for the first Test, he did end up vouching for KL Rahul, calling him a batsman capable, who he believes has the ability to face the South African pace attack.
The first Test between India and South Africa starts on 5 January in Cape Town.