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'India have right mix of youth, age'

South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis hails the Indian team for getting the right combination of youth and experience. SA arrive in India | Pics

cricket Updated: Mar 24, 2008 01:49 IST

South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis hailed the Indian team for getting the right combination of youth and experience and said his side was prepared to take on their challenge in the three-Test series starting on Wednesday.

"It was surprising to see them play like that in Australia where the conditions are different than at home ... lot more pace and bouncy. In the past, India have been goot at home but not while going away," he told reporters after his team's practice session at MA Chidambaram stadium on Sunday.

It was good India stuck with their strength of experience, he said, adding "You got to get a good combination of youth and experience. I think they (India) got the combination right. They got a few bowlers coming through now."

About the coming series, he said the current tour and the subsequent ones to Australia and England were big challenges.
"Our guys are keen and lot more motivated. As a team we have been working for this series."

It would be a tough one and more than individual performances, team effort would be important, Kallis said. A few young players in the team had gained experience through the year and after a long time, South Africa's bowling looked good, he said adding, "They are capable of taking 20 wickets, which serves you to win a Test."

Spinner Paul Haris, who also addressed the media, said he was looking forward to bowl to Sachin Tendulkar, who he said was the best in the Indian line-up.

Asked whether he would target any one particular batsmen, the left-arm spinner said, "I am not going to target anyone. But it will be nice to bowl to Tendulkar. Any bowler's dream is to bowl to the best."

"I am looking forward to bowl to India's top batsmen. It is a strong top order," Harris added. Harris said he had different plan for different players and had prepared well. He was also not bothered to bowl long spells in the series. Kallis expressed concern over the increasing workload for cricketers due to the cramped international calender and said too much cricket was responsible for the decline in number of all-rounders.

"It is sad to see, but there is going to be more decline because of the workload. They (ICC) have to come up with some plan to bring down the work load," he said.

Talking about Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan, Kallis said the Baroda player was doing well but needs to learn more. "He has come a long way. He is more of a bowler all-rounder. But obviously he has got to learn a lot more."

He also said the ICC have to integrate the Indian Premier League (IPL) into the international season and limit it to 20-25 ODIs and 14-15 Tests. Kallis did not see India's swing bowlers, who did well Down Under, as real threat to their batsmen.

"I don't think there is going to be much swing in these conditions. It is going to be a spinners paradise," he said referring to the pitch here.