India seamer Praveen Kumar has been ruled out of the one-day series with South Africa due to an elbow problem.
Kumar has left the tour, joining injured batsmen Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir in returning home early, and has been replaced in the squad by Ishant Sharma.
"With the World Cup also in place, we didn't want to risk him," said India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
"He has been a very good bowler, irrespective of the conditions, whether we are playing in India or abroad, he has done well for us."
The five-match series starts at Kingsmead on Wednesday and Dhoni is keen to avoid further injuries prior to the World Cup, which takes place in Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka from February 19 to April 2.
"It would have been good to feature the main XI during the series against South Africa but we don't want to risk aggravating injuries," he added.
"A number of our players are carrying niggles and they are too important to risk before a World Cup."
Conditions at the Durban venue will dictate team selection for the series opener.
Should India opt to go with three frontline seamers, Munaf Patel and Ishant are the contenders to supplement left-arm duo Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra.
The tourists also have Sachin Tendulkar back in their 50-over line-up for the first time since his record knock of 200 not out against the same opponents in Gwalior last February.
South Africa, meanwhile, are without all-rounder Jacques Kallis for all five matches due to a side strain.
Pakistan-born leg-spinner Imran Tahir is set to make his international bow after becoming eligible last month, while Francois du Plessis - once of Lancashire - is also in contention for a debut.
South Africa (from): G Smith (capt), H Amla, J Botha, AB de Villiers (wkt), J-P Duminy, F du Plessis, C Ingram, D Miller, M Morkel, W Parnell, R Peterson, D Steyn, I Tahir, L Tsotsobe
India (from): MS Dhoni (capt, wkt), R Ashwin, P Chawla, Z Khan, V Kohli, A Nehra, M Patel, Y Pathan, S Raina, R Sharma, I Sharma, H Singh, Y Singh, S Sreesanth, S Tendulkar, M Vijay