Kolkata: The Indian pace battery chosen for the much-talked about South Africa tour starting next month is one of the best to have toured the country, chairman of selectors MSK Prasad said on Thursday.
India will play three Tests, six One-Day Internationals and three T20 internationals against South Africa who have one of the most potent bowling attacks on paper with the likes of fit-again Dale Steyn and Kagiso Rabada in their ranks.
"I can't comment on the opposition bowling attack but from our perspective, we have one of the best bowling attacks that has toured to South Africa," Prasad told reporters on the sidelines of the Ranji Trophy semi-final clash between Karnataka and Vidarbha which the latter won by five runs.
"It's a wonderful bunch and more importantly we are going with No.1 Test tag.
"The confidence we have with so many victories in Test matches, though they have come at home but still..going on a winning note is always good. So I am sure this is one of the most balanced teams that we have," he added.
Right-arm pacer Bumrah's ability to bowl with variety is the reason he was selected for the longest format, Prasad said, adding Ankit Rajpoot, Basil Thampi and Avesh Khan would also travel as net bowlers.
"You see Umesh (Yadav) and (Mohammed) Shami might be hitting 140 but they still swing the ball. We also have Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) who can swing the ball either way. We have included Bumrah who has variety. Ishant (Sharma) is there always and Hardik (Pandya) adds that different dimension," Prasad said.
"So there are five different varieties of bowlers that we have picked."
Vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane has been going through a lean patch lately, but Prasad sounded unfazed saying the middle-order batsman is at his best abroad and his record speaks for itself.
"We are not worried. When we go abroad, he is a key player. If you see his performances abroad, you should appreciate. He has got runs across the world. I am absolutely not worried. He is above these things and he has played enough number of years to tackle these situations."
In the last five Test innings, Rahane has 1, 10, 2, 4 and 0 against lowly Sri Lanka. But on the road, the 29-year old is a different beast averaging 53.44 in 24 matches.