Kanpur, Feb 5 (ANI): India plays its first Test match against South Africa from Saturday, but the verbal battle has begun between both sides as South African skipper Graeme Smith and his Indian counterpart Mahendra Singh Dhoni targetted each other on Friday.
Smith named Dhoni as South Africa's primary target in the two-Test series because he carried the bulk of the responsibility for India, and said if they attacked him successfully, they would be well placed in the series.
Smith said, "We will put pressure on Dhoni. India has everything to lose."
We see Dhoni as the key figure in their side. He obviously carries a lot of responsibility so if we can create a lot pf pressure on him may be we can open up a few chinks," added Smith.
Smith further said Dhoni, who was victorious in his first-Test as captain against South Africa in Kanpur in 2008, had grown in stature and earned respect from his opponents.
"He seems a good controlled leader of men. But we have gathered a lot of information on him from the time he made his debut as Test captain," added Smith.
Dhoni appeared calm and said, "In the absence of Dravid, Sehwag will have to bat responsibly."
"We are not worried about rankings," added Dhoni.
Dhoni laughed at the idea that this was a battle for supremacy between two young leaders who have done their reputations no harm since taking over the reins. "I am a better keeper, and he is a better opener," he said with a laugh.
"But it's not abut the captains. It's a team sport," added Dhoni.
India's claim to be the world's leading Test cricket nation will be put to the Test by South Africa and a string of injuries in the series starting on Saturday.
India dethroned South Africa to take the No. 1 slot on the International Cricket Council's Test rankings _ at a time when that honor is very much up for grabs _ and are coming off the back of a predictably comfortable 2-0 series victory over Bangladesh. (ANI)