India, who left for South Africa on Wednesday, called off a two-day warm-up match against a CSA XI that was scheduled to take place at Boland Park and opted instead to use those days for training.
Shastri urged his troops to embrace the challenges awaiting them in South Africa and insisted that they have prepared well.
“It’s going to be a challenge, we all know how tough a tour to South Africa is. That’s the beauty about their profession – wanting challenges and embracing it and that’s what we are looking for,” Shastri told reporters, as quoted by BCCI.tv.
“If it’s going to be tough on our batsmen, our job is to make it tough for their batsmen as well.”
India, who are the No 1 Test team in the world, have never won a Test series in South Africa having lost five times and drawn once.
More so, India celebrated their last major away victory in 2008/09 when they beat New Zealand 1-0 in a three-match Test series.
Shastri revealed that India’s upcoming tours of South Africa, Australia and England could be a defining moment for their country.
“The whole team is aware of that and with tours of South Africa, Australia and England coming up in a year and a half, all I can say is this will be a better cricket team after 18 months,” said the former Indian all-rounder.
“These boys have been on the road together for the last 4-5 years – the same team… The preparation has been good and the boys have been (focusing) on the tour for a long time now. The nucleus has been the same. So that should help them.”
The Proteas take on India in a three-match Test series, starting on January 5 at Newlands. (sport24)