Fresh from their victory at Johannesburg, South African batsman JP Duminy expects India to provide close contest during the six-match ODI series and improve their modest record in Durban. The first ODI will be played at the Kingsmead Oval on Thursday. "India are a phenomenal ODI side and they've managed to compete in all conditions around the world. You don't expect anything less from them. They have a few new faces and few young players but also a lot of talent," Duminy told reporters on Tuesday.
"They have been exposed to the IPL scene and they will be competitive in the series. Even though we won the first two Test matches, India competed and that's what you want to see from high profile teams. India being the world No. 1 ranked team, you expect nothing less from them," Duminy added.
Batsmen from both sides struggled during the Test series on bowler-friendly pitches. Duminy said that the ODI pitches will be more batsmen friendly, but added that the Indias top-order batsmen will have to improve their poor showing from 2013.
"The pitches are going to be more batsmen friendly, I think. Its probably going to be high-scoring games across the country. And that'll obviously bring the teams closer together. The key fundamentals for me in One-day cricket are partnerships with ball and bat. The team that gets that right has the best chance of winning, said Duminy.
South Africa will also be keeping a close eye on their preparation for the 2019 World Cup as this ODI series begins. Duminy said that a lot of changes have happened in how teams now approach their middle overs.
"It depends on the makeup of your team. If you look back to a team like England, who bats quite deep they probably bat until 10 or 11 at times I guess they can afford to lose a couple of wickets in the middle in trying to be a little aggressive. And that's worked for them over a period of time."
"For our team, it's about understanding whats the makeup and how do we best get to a 300-past score. These days, even 300 is not good enough. Even with 350, you're still not guaranteed a win. So, it's about understanding whats the make-up, what each players role is and understanding how to go about that role, he said.
"There's going to be a lot of shifting I would think leading up to the World Cup so guys will want to understand their role, understand their game and understand what brand of cricket we want to play going into 2019. It's going to be an intriguing phase not only for our team but for all teams."
Last but not the least, Duminy said he was looking forward to reuniting with Mumbai Indians at the 2018 IPL.
"Obviously I have been part of the IPL for a number of years so playing against the Indian team, you do end up playing against a lot of your potential teammates in the IPL.
"But right now, you know you're going to be competitive, you want to win and you want to put big performances against the opposition. I don't think we will see anything different, said Duminy.
"But yes, in a few months time, well be teammates (with Rohit Sharma at Mumbai Indians) and at that time, obviously it'll be about putting the past in the past and concentrate on winning the IPL. I'm really happy to be back with the Mumbai Indians. It all started for me at Mumbai, he signed off.
(With PTI Inputs)