India is currently touring the rainbow nation for the historic Freedom series. With the Test series to be followed by a 3 match ODI series, the Men In Blue will definitely hope to begin the year with a comprehensible victory overseas. However, the team will miss key players like Ravindra Jadeja and their new captain Rohit Sharma, both being out because of injuries.
KL Rahul will be the stand-in captain and Bumrah will act as his deputy. The tour will be a bright opportunity for some of the cricketers who might not have been at their peak of the game yet can make a stunning turnaround in South Africa. Let’s take a look at 3 Indian players who can turn the table in the ODI series vs the Proteas.
Bhuvaneshwar Kumar was arguably one of the finest seamers for India across all formats in the last decade. But no doubt, the seasoned campaigner has not been in his best form in the past few years. Kumar has suffered a lot of injuries and thereby had to miss out on several opportunities in the recent past. He no more holds his place in the Test squad. His form has dropped significantly in the limited-overs format too. Kumar had a forgettable outing in the WT20 in UAE and was even dropped after the first few matches. Kumar has never been an express pace bowler.
However, the Indian dressing room knows the caliber of Kumar and has shown immense faith in his capabilities. With a number of mega ICC events lined up in the next decade, Bhuvaneshwer will surely try to prove a point to the selectors. The series in the rainbow nation will be a perfect platform for him to rediscover his lost mojo.
Ashwin once a regular in the blue jersey lost his place in the white-ball format after the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy campaign. The selectors replaced the duo of Ashwin-Jadeja with Chahal-Kuldeep for the next few years. It was in 2021 when the veteran off-spinner got a call back into the limited-overs setup ahead of the WT20 in UAE.
Despite the Indian team having a miserable campaign, Ashwin’s form was definitely a positive to take away from the tournament. The experienced campaigner has added a lot of variations in his armor in the years he was out of the team. Ashwin undoubtedly is a great reader of the game and his rich experience helps him combat the toughest situations in a match. However, he is expected to face stiff competition from the likes of Chahal and Sundar to seal his spot in the ODI XI. Ashwin is not the most agile fielder in the field and the likes of Sundar are excellent fielders plus can contribute with the bat as well. It will be interesting to watch how Ashwin fares in the ODI series against South Africa.
Shikhar Dhawan has always been the big match player for the Indian Team in ODIs and T20Is. His records at ICC events are stupendous and thus it was a shocker for many when Dhawan was not a part of India’s 2021 WT20 squad. Beyond any dubiety, one needs to admit that the strike rate of the Delhi-based batter has significantly dropped.
With Sharma being out of the series due to an injury, it might be the last chance for Dhawan to make or break into the scene once again. Having talented individuals like Ruturaj Gaikwad warming the bench, the 36-year-old batter needs to make every opportunity count to prolong his international career. Dhawan being a left-handed batter brings variety and his rich experience is an asset for the camp. If Gabbar can make a stunning turnaround in the SA tour, it will be tough for the selectors to ignore the stylish batter.
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