Sledging adds to competition: Boucher

South Africa's wicketkeeper says Test cricket requires a mix of defence and aggression and says his team would not go overboard on sledging.

updated: March 31, 2008 06:58 IST
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The ICC may have asked players to refrain from on-field showdowns but South African wicketkeeper Mark Boucher on Monday said sledging was all about being competitive even though he assured that his team would not go overboard in the upcoming Test series against India.

"Our guys are mature enough and know what to do on the cricket field and what not to do," Boucher told a press conference here.

The first of the three-Test series between the two sides starts on Wednesday and the two sides have so far refrained from engaging in any war of words.

The stumper-batsman said Test cricket required a mix of defence and aggression and his team would look to get the balance right in the series.

"Test cricket is Test cricket. You have got to get a mix of defence and attack," he said after a net session at the MA Chidambaram Stadium here this afternoon.

Asked how the South Africans were coping with the hot and humid Chennai weather, Boucher said his team was handling the temperatures well as it had played in similar conditions during their recent tour of Pakistan and Bangladesh.

"We have played quite a lot of cricket in the sub-continent. Obviously, it was lot more humid yesterday", he said.

Boucher also brushed aside suggestions that lack of any practice match ahead of the series would hamper his side.

"The short break after the Bangladesh tour has actually helped the players to get a fresh focus on the Indian tour.

Boucher replied in the negative when asked whether his team was worried about the association of compatriots Gary Kristen and Paddy Upton with the Indian team.

"We are not really worried what they discuss in the Indian camp", he said.

While Kirsten is the new coach of the Indian team, Upton has taken over as the mental conditioning coach.

Meanwhile, South African top order batsman Hashim Amla felt the spinners would play a major role in the series but asserted that his team has prepared well to face the challenge.

Amla, who made his Test debut against India during the 2005 series, said he had gained a lot of experience in the last four years.

Pacer Dale Steyn, who emerged most successful during the Bangladesh tour picking up 14 wickets, said India's batting line-up was good but the South African bowlers have analysed their video recordings and would bowl to their weak areas.

"We have good bowlers like Makhaya Nitni and Paul Harris who support me well in wicket taking abilities," he said.

Asked whether speed had become a focus these days, he said bowlers like Shaun Pollock and Glen McGrath had been successful though they were not the fastest.

"More than speed, what matter is the line and length," he said.