South Africa began their India tour on a mixed note with a 1-1 draw in the three-match Twenty20 International series. However, their major challenge comes in the three-Test series which will be their first in the new ICC World Test Championship. However, the Proteas return to the stage when four years ago, their Test team was hammered 3-0 in the four-Test series with rain in the second Test in Bangalore preventing a total whitewash. The South African players failed to cope against the spin of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja as they suffered their worst series defeat against India.
Speaking ahead of the three-day warm-up against the Board President's XI in Vizianagaram which will be captained by Rohit Sharma, South Africa opener Aiden Markram has admitted that some players might still be carrying some scars from the previous tour.
"I remember watching that series a few years ago and it looked incredibly difficult. And I'm sure there's a bit of baggage that certain players that were on that tour might still be carrying but that's completely fine. I think it's never an easy tour coming to anywhere in the subcontinent, let alone India. It's full of challenges, but if we can conquer those challenges it will be really rewarding," Markram was quoted by the official website of the ICC.
Markram has played 17 Tests so far and scored 1358 runs, hoped to draw from his recent experience with the A team. In the two matches against India A in Thiruvananthapuram and Mysore, Markram managed scores of 0,4 and 161 as he looked to tackle the conditions ahead of the Tests in Vizag, Pune and Ranchi.
"From a personal perspective, it was nice to spend time out in the middle. In the field as well, it was nice for us as fielders to be on our feet for long periods of time and for our bowlers to bowl plenty of spells in these hot conditions. I took a lot from the A side games and I'm ready to go in the Test matches," Markram added.
However, the left-hander is quick to admit that the pitches he encountered during the 'A' games might be different to the ones they get during the Test matches but Markram said South Africa will offer no excuses. "At the end of the day, we're not going to harp on about conditions, we pretty much know what to expect and we just need to get the job done. The guys are positive and upbeat and we're maintaining a really good language in the changeroom, a really strong language," Markram said.