Chennai: Even as the Indian and South African teams go through the grind in Chennai to get their batting and bowling form right, there is something else they will have to watch out for. With the ICC watching over their shoulders, the sledgers in both camps better beware.
"Myself and Harbhajan will put on boxing gloves and have a go at each other," joked South African vice-captain Mark Boucher.
Boucher will have to come prepared, as Harbhajan of course has been getting a bit of practice at just this skill in recent times. But the game's bosses have laid down the law, and the players are okay to fall in line.
NOT BACKING DOWN: Boucher insists that sledging will never go away from the game.
"You never overstep the mark. And if you do overstep the mark, I think the ICC's match referees are looking for someone to make an example of it, especially with all the hype coming from the India-Australia series," Boucher adds on the sidelines of the first Test which begins on Wednesday.
The Proteas of course are pretty good at the art. Their best sledger (Andre Nel) may be cooling his heels at home, but Boucher leads a pretty vocal group from behind the stumps.
"As for sledging, I don't think it's ever going to leave the game. When you have got two very competitive sides fighting out for their country, it's always going to be there," Boucher says.
For all the talk outside the pitch, remember, the real battle will be between bat and ball on the field. Unlike the high-voltage series in Australia, this India-South Africa series promises to be much more fun, more entertaining, and slightly calmer, like the relatively calm waters of the Bay of Bengal.