India had drubbed Sri Lanka 3-0 away from home earlier this year but the Indian vice-captain said, "This series is completely different". For us, if we want to be the number one team, every series is important and we want to win each and every match and each and every series.
Injuries aside, it has been a hard year for Mathews, who until earlier this year was the skipper of the side in all three formats of the game.
The other India bowlers to feature prominently in the rankings are Ravichandran Ashwin (fourth), Mohammed Shami (19th), Umesh Yadav (27th), Ishant Sharma (29th) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (37th). We know they are a good side. He was seen attempting several reverse sweeps at the Indian practice sessions. When asked about the reason behind that, he said, "I always think that if I improve one shot in the net session I will be better off in the game. Given the conditions, the series in South Africa will be totally different". "So I am just practising reverse sweeps, sweeps and paddle sweeps just as an option". "Some of them are all-time greats of the sport and it was a tough task for us", Muralitharan recalled. Then comes South Africa. This is an important series for Sri Lanka as well and they have been preparing really well. The 28-year-old, who has played 32 Tests to date in which he has taken 155 wickets and scored 1136 runs, now sits second in both the categories.
In recent times, managing workload has become a talking point in Indian cricket.
Coach Nic Pothas, who took over after Graham Ford left in June, said the India debacle had taught his team vital lessons. He was seen tested by short-pitch stuff, an indication of what lies in store for the India team when they go for a two-month long tour to South Africa, which will comprise three Tests, six ODIs and three T20Is. In future we are going to play many matches so recovery is very important.