India have not won a Test series in South Africa and that will be enough motivation for the likes of captain Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli to bring out their best. Both players will be making a return to the side following a break from the white-ball format after the World Cup.
Head coach Rahul Dravid has admitted that South Africa is a tough place to bat. The two Tests will take place in Centurion and Cape Town, from December 26 and January 3, respectively.
The white-ball squad will leave from Mumbai in the early hours of Wednesday.
During the last Test series in 2021-22, India won the first Test in Centurion but the home team came back strongly to prevail in Johannesburg and Cape Town to clinch the series 2-1.
"South Africa is a challenging place to bat. The statistics will tell you that it is one of the difficult places to bat in, especially in the Highveld area in Centurion and Johannesburg. The wickets too tend to do a bit... up and down," Dravid said on Star Sports show Follow the Blues.
"Every batsman will have his own game plan... how they want to go about it and they are practising that way. That's fine because we don't want everyone to play in the same way.
"We want them to be very clear about what works for them and then execute that accordingly. The boys know a lot of it is mental and if we go about it in a way that if anyone gets the opportunity to get set then let him make it a match-winning contribution," the head coach remarked.
India begin the tour with three T20Is and as many ODIs followed by the two Tests.
KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer and Jasprit Bumrah will make comebacks to the Test squad following their injuries. Ajinkya Rahane has been dropped while Cheteshwar Pujara wasn't included.
Mohammed Shami, who was rested for India's last Test series in the West Indies in July, is also back but his inclusion is subject to fitness.