India's Mahendra Singh Dhoni (L) and Ambati Rayudu
Dharamsala - Arab Today
Hosts India and South Africa will have one eye on next year's World Twenty20 when they launch a three-match series in the picturesque hill town of Dharamsala on Friday.
Three T20 games on a single tour is a rarity in modern cricket, but both teams will welcome the change with the sixth edition of the World T20 due to be held in India in March-April next year.
South Africa, who will also play five one-day internationals and four Tests on the 10-week tour, are still looking for their first major limited-overs world title despite being top contenders every time.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni's India won the inaugural World T20 in South Africa in 2007 and were runners-up to Sri Lanka in the last edition in Bangladesh in April, 2014 -- having defeated the Proteas in the semi-final.
India may be regarded as the nerve centre of the shortest format due to the popularity of the Indian Premier League, but Dhoni's men have played just three international matches in the shortest format since the World T20 final.