Cape Town - India coach Ravi Shastri has opened up on why he considers the Proteas such a strong Test match team.
Shastri and his charges are in the country trying to win a Test series here for the first time, having won just two of their 17 Tests in South Africa since 1992.
The first of three Tests gets underway in Cape Town on January 5 and India have been hard at work preparing for what they expect to be seam-friendly conditions.
Currently the top ranked side in Test cricket, this is the start of a big 18 months for India that will see them play Test series in England and Australia in the build-up to the 2019 World Cup.
Shastri is confident, saying that he can sense something special in this group of players, but he has been around long enough to know that South Africa have the pedigree to beat anybody on their day.
The 55-year-old believes that the Proteas have been one of the best travelling Test sides in recent history while he also praised their depth.
"They’ve always been a good, solid all-round side," Shastri said in Cape Town on Saturday.
"I mentioned that in the last two years no team has travelled well … before that, it’s always been South Africa ahead of any other team.
"It’s a team that was in transition but you’ve always had good bench strength and I think that’s the key. You’ve always had bench strength in the bowling department and the batting department."
Despite India's struggles in South Africa over the years, they have certainly not been outplayed and went down 1-0 in 2013/14 in a two-match series.
"This will be a good contest because a lot of our boys want job satisfaction," Shastri said.
"Job satisfaction is when you get out and score runs or take wickets overseas. There is a challenge and I can sense that they want that Test match to start as quickly as possible."