The India Tour of South Africa is set to begin from Boxing Day at the Supersport Park of Centurion. India ahead of the tour practiced at Johannesburg and will surely back themselves to script history in the Freedom Series.
5 bowlers , India’s success mantra in Tests?
South Africa is not an easy place to bat for any side. The pitch offers extra pace and bounce and when the red cherry swings batters find it unplayable at times. With the likes of Rabada in the opposition, the batting units need to play really well if they aim to keep an upper hand in the matches.
The Indin pace battery is probably the best of the current generation and with the rise of Siraj, it only got better. But will it be viable to play with a 5 bowler side? Kohli has always emphasized how the bowlers get the key moments for a team to win a match. A side can only be champion in Tests if it has the potential to get all the 20 wickets.
The brilliance of Bumrah-Shami-Siraj added with the brains of off-spin legend Ashwin proves why India has been at its prime in whites, in recent years. The team will also try to have Shardul Thakur in the scheme of things, as his carefree batting alongside his ability to swing the red bowl makes him a decent replacement of Pandya as the seaming allrounder.
Batters win matches, Bowlers win series
Dravid and Kohli will thereby look to once again bank on the successful formula of 5 bowlers hoping the batting order to cope up well with the hostilities. Recently, India’s stand-in vice-captain for the series, KL Rahul had his word on the issue of team selection,
“I think most teams have started playing five bowlers and every team wants to pick up 20 wickets and that’s the only way you can win a Test match. We have used this tactic and it has helped us in away games …. In every Test match that we have played away from India, it has helped us. So, workload also becomes slightly easier to manage that way with five bowlers and when you have that kind of quality, you might as well use them,” He stated to the press.
Rahane in or Rahane out?
If India plays with 5 bowlers in the Centurion Test, the batters will need to up their game against a deadly Proteas pace battery. With Rahane’s poor form a thing of worry, it will be interesting to see if Kohli makes an interesting choice at the toss.
Shreyas Iyer made his debut in the latest India vs New Zealand home series and made it clear that his abilities as a Test batter can’t be ignored. Hanuma Vihari has been the most underrated hero of India’s victorious campaigns abroad in the past year. He bats like a typical Test batter and can bowl a decent bit of off-spin as well.
“It is a very, very difficult decision. Ajinkya has played crucial knocks for India including the one in Melbourne or in Lord’s recently. He has been a key player for us. Shreyas has taken his chances. Hanuma has also done the same for us. We will have a chat about that today or tomorrow,” Rahul said on the No.5 position.
India’s Test squad: Virat Kohli (Captain), KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Priyank Panchal, Shreyas Iyer, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper), R Ashwin, Jayant Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Mohd. Shami, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Md. Siraj.
South Africa’s Test squad: Dean Elgar (captain), Temba Bavuma (vice-captain), Quinton de Kock (wicket-keeper), Kagiso Rabada, Sarel Erwee, Beuran Hendricks, George Linde, Keshav Maharaj, Lungi Ngidi, Aiden Markram, Wiaan Mulder, Keegan Petersen, Rassie van der Dussen, Kyle Verreynne, Marco Jansen, Glenton Stuurman, Prenelan Subrayen, Sisanda Magala, Ryan Rickelton, Duanne Olivier.
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