Gayle, who was in New Delhi to attend an event along with India's ODI skipper MS Dhoni, said, "South African players will feel at home playing pace and spin. These guys have played a lot of cricket in India, courtesy the IPL. They know the conditions very well, especially their bowlers. ('Outstanding' Ashwin will be the main threat for us: Du Plessis)
They know how to bowl on Indian wickets. They know about the pitches. Similarly, batsmen know about their opposition bowlers. All this will certainly help them a lot." (Controversy: Saeed Ajmal calls Harbhajan Singh, R Ashwin 'chuckers')
Several Proteas players, including AB deVilliers, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, Morne Morkel, Dale Steyn and JP Duminy in the Test squad are a part of the IPL. All of these players have fair idea of the Indian pitches as well as the playing conditions, hence, facing spinners isn't going to a matter of much concern for the No. 1 Test team. (No 'ugly sledging' thanks to IPL: Dhoni)
However, South African all-rounder Faf du Plessis admitted that outstanding 'off-spinner' Ravichandran Ashwin will be their main threat.
Asked if the visitors are expecting the turf to suit the home side, Du Plessis was quoted as saying, "We are expecting the ball to spin on day one, you expect it and then you plan for it."
"Ashwin is our main threat, but we will plan really well. The way we play Ashwin in this series will definitely determine definitely the success in this series." Du Plessis expects the Mohali track to turn from the opening day.
But, it will be interesting to see what will be Indian skipper Virat Kohli's playing XI. Leg spinner Amit Mishra too performed exceptionally well in the previous Test series against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka. Hence, one can expect skipper Kohli includes him as well in the opening Test at Mohali, which owns a reputation of being a pacer friendly track.
Moreover, Indian pace battery isn't too furious as compared to their South African counterparts, hence, it will be interesting to see how Team India tackles this challenge.