India’s seasoned campaigner Cheteshwer Pujara is dealing with a rough patch with the bat for a long time now. His drought of runs with the bat has raised questions about his place in the squad. However, the team has backed him considering his caliber to be the crisis man in adverse scenarios.
Pujara in jinx , SA Tour to change fortunes?
The Virat Kohli-led side is on a mission to conquer the world and their aim will be to lead the squad to its maiden series victory in South Africa in Tests. Pujara was the hero of the tour of Australia back in 2018 when they went on to secure an iconic victory against the Aussies for the first time in their backyard. Pundits expect Pujara to time travel back to that season and be at his blistering best once again.
Former wicket-keeper batter Saba Karim recently said,
“Cheteshwar Pujara will have to bat like he did in Australia. From what I have heard, he will be India’s number 3 for the series. It is an important position for any team, especially when they are touring abroad.”
Pujara will need to back amongst the runs or else his position in the team will be under the scanner in upcoming tours.
Siraj , the game-changer?
Lanky right-arm pacer Mohammad Siraj has taken huge strides in Test cricket since his debut. His ability to swing and seam the bowl at a decent pace and his consistency in line and length has impressed every cricket expert and fan. The Indian skipper Virat Kohli has a lot of faith in the Hyderabad bowler. Siraj is yet to disappoint him.
With South Africa being a haven for pacers, a lot will depend on how the Indian bowling unit fares against the Proteas batters. Bumrah and Shami will be the top picks. Siraj might be ahead of senior fast bowler Ishant Sharma for the selection of the Centurion Test. Former cricketer and commentator Nikhil Chopra believes,
“The way Mohammed Siraj has bowled, I will surely pick him for the 1st Test. He’s currently at the top of his game,” Nikhil Chopra stated.
India will lock horns with South Africa from December 26 in the Supersport Park of Centurion.
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, Anrich Nortje, Keegan Petersen, Rassie van der Dussen, Kyle Verreynne, Marco Jansen, Glenton Stuurman, Prenelan Subrayen, Sisanda Magala, Ryan Rickelton, Duanne Olivier.
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