Wickets, conditions will test South Africans: Laxman

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Mumbai, Mar 13 (UNI) India's stylish middle order batsman V V S Laxman today threw down the gauntlet to the South Africans, who will be in the country soon for three Test series, saying the wickets and conditions would prove a big challenge to the Proteas.

Laxman, who was here to launch ''Neo Sports India's Race to No 1 - Test Cricket'' campaign, said that the heat and humidity during the months of March and April would prove to be a big challenge for the South Africans. The Indian players are used to these conditions and will be able to cope up with them much better, he added.

However, at the same time, Laxman warned against taking the South African team lightly. ''They have a balanced attack and even though the wickets are likely to take spin, the visitors have a good bunch of pacers who know how to reverse swing, which would come into effect on these wickets with the weather being hot and humid,'' he said.

Laxman agreed that the Proteas will definitely miss a player of the calibre of Shaun Pollock, who apart from his bowling could be a match winner with the bat also.

The Hyderabadi batsman congratulated the Indian team on its performance in the one-dayers in Australia and said that this would augur well for the South African series as it is also beneficial to start off a series with the confidence and morale being sky high.

He said that new coach Gary Kirsten would be a good coach and his inputs would be invaluable, given the experience he has as a player.

''We are having a three-day camp before the first Test begins in Chennai on March 26 and this is when we will be able to strike a chord with Gary which will take India to the next level,'' he added.

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