Nagpur: India will find it difficult to cope with the absence of middle-order mainstay Rahul Dravid despite having quality replacements at its disposal during the upcoming two-Test series, feels South Africa captain Graeme Smith.

Addressing the media for the first time after the team landed on Monday, Smith said he was keen to know who would fill in the vital slot of Dravid, who underwent a surgery on his jaw that was broken in Bangladesh during the second Test at Mirpur.

“They still have quality players there, but to lose somebody of the calibre of Rahul Dravid with an incredible career of over 10,000 runs is always very difficult,” the left-handed batsman said.

“There is still a lot of quality in the Indian team. No. 3 is obviously a key position in any batting line-up, so it is going to be very interesting to see whom they choose to use there,” he said.

“The rest of their guys are pretty set in their batting positions so it will be interesting to see if they put (uncapped) S. Badrinath at No. 3 or somebody else there,” Smith said. Smith said the No. 1 Test spot was not much of a priority for them as the team was focussed on winning the series. — PTI

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