South Africa's premier batsman A B de Villiers has kick-started the cerebral warfare against India in lead-up to the first Test between the two sides of the 2010-11 tour, starting on Dec 16 at Centurion Park. The middle-order batsman scornfully said that India's position at the top of the Test table is at stake in the coming series.
"There's been this feeling and stats show it, that their batters score bigger and they generally perform better at home which is normal. This will be a big test for them. There's always been the label that they struggle in South Africa," De Villiers told The Independent. "If they don't have success here, there'll definitely be a question mark about their No 1 ranking," he said.
De Villiers said he adores Sachin Tendulkar in the Indian team but hoped that the veteran right-hander does not hit his stride in the three-Test series.
"Sachin is a legend of the game and I'll always look up to him and it's great that he is here. It might be his last series in South Africa, so you've got to enjoy having the man around, but I'm hoping he doesn't score too many hundreds."
The 26-year-old De Villiers has 4540 runs in 63 Tests at an average of over 47 and has been a mainstay of South Africa's batting line-up. Talking about his team's chances in the upcoming series De Villiers said the visitors would benefit from having South Afircan Gary Kirsten as coach but the hosts have the quality bowlers to counter the venerated batting line-up
"He (Kirsten) has got a lot of knowledge of conditions here. They'll have all the necessary information. They are a class team and they gave us a run for our money the last time they were here. I back our seam bowlers. Dale (Steyn) and Morne (Morkel) will be big danger men. We are playing at home, we should know the conditions."
The bearer of the highest Test score by a South African batsman (278), De Villiers said he couldn't have asked for a bigger achievement.
"I'd be a loser if I said I was happy with my career right now, I'd like to achieve a lot more. I have my goals now and I just want to go out there and win games for the team."
De Villiers has so far scored two double hundreds in his Test career and he feels the 2008 innings of 217 against India as the one which turned it around for him.