South African seamer Vernon Philander believes that the spinners will hold the key in the upcoming Test series in India.

But that is not to say that fast bowlers have no role to play. Philander, who is getting a measure of Indian conditions by turning out for South Africa-A here, stated, “The pitches for the Tests will be spinner-friendly. There's no doubt about that. Our spinners will have to step up.

"Having said that, the seamers will be used in short bursts, so we will have to make an impact. Taking wickets with the new ball is important, as this will set up the game nicely for the spinners. It will be hard work for the pacers, but I’m looking forward to it.”

The first of three Tests commences at Visakhapatnam on October 2. The inexperienced South African spin attack – comprising Keshav Maharaj, Senuran Muthusamy and Dane Piedt – have a big challenge ahead.

On the pace front, Philander will miss his long-time new-ball partner, Dale Steyn, who recently retired from Test cricket. Philander stated that he shared a “long and wonderful partnership” with Steyn and that the South Africans have found a more than able replacement in Kagiso Rabada. “Rabada is a world-class bowler. He is a wonderful prospect for South Africa,” Philander, who has played 58 Tests, said.

As the most experienced member of the bowling attack, Philander takes on the role of mentor. “Rabada and I will lead the attack. But my role will go a little further than being just the new ball bowler. We will sit and work out plans for each batsman, as well as the conditions.”