Faf du Plessis, Stand-in Test captain of South Africa said that his team had been “scarred” for spin-friendly pitches in India last year. Recently Du Plessis replaced injured AB de Villiers. He said South Africa would be looking to make a fresh start in the first of two Tests against New Zealand, starting at Kingsmead Friday.

South Africa started their journey in India as number one Test team, but have slipped to seventh after losing 3-0 against India and 2-1 at home against England, as well as losing points from past triumphs.

“India was tough for us and it left a few scars. I think Australia are in the same position against Sri Lanka (where they were beaten 3-0 in a Test series). Before that series we were a powerhouse batting unit. It had an effect on all of us, ” said Du Plessis.

Du Plessis said it took most of the four-match series against England to shake off the effects of India. “But this is a new season and a new series and hopefully we can get off to a good start. “We have had some honest feedback on where we want to go and where we fell short,” he said.

The feedback had included an acknowledgement that complacency might have crept in during their three years as the number one side. “We maybe fell into some traps because we were playing well and could almost leave it to be. We need to challenge each other every day, from the coaching staff right through to the guy carrying the drinks,” he added.

Du Plessis said the return of bowling kingpins Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander would make a “huge” difference to the South African attack, but added that New Zealand would be tough opponents. “They have been playing good cricket and we will have to play well to beat them.”