SA vs IND: What will be India’s ideal XI

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The highly anticipated Freedom Trophy series is just around the corner with India expecting to achieve their 1st victory in the rainbow nation. Amidst a lot of tensions brewing, be it the Omicron scare and controversy of Kohli Vs BCCI.

The Proteas tour will be Rahul Dravid’s first assignment in abroad conditions as the Head Coach. After iconic victories in Australia and England, South Africa is the last place for Kohli to lead his men to dominate. However what will be the perfect side for India to play at Supersport Park, Centurion.

The best chance for Team India to conquer SA?

The poor form of senior campaigners like Rahane and Pujara will be a headache for the team management. Interestingly, Rahane was last dropped from the team in their last South Africa series only. This time his poor form has cost his position of being the vice-captain. Not to forget, Rahane has been at his best mostly in foreign tours and at one point of time in his career, his statistics were better in abroad tours compared to the ones played on home turf.

Even captain Virat Kohli is fighting a rough patch in his career. After the coronavirus break in 2020, Kohli has not been at his prime across all formats. He is yet to hit a ton in the past 2 years. Kohli will surely aim to rediscover his mojo and lead the team from the front.

Will the Indian pacers make the most of the situations?

The 2018 series vs South Africa was the debut series of Jasprit Bumrah with the red ball. A bowler known for his brilliance in the limited-overs format, experts doubted whether Bumrah will fare well considering his bowling action in mind. Bumrah broke the scene as a matchwinner and now stands tall as one of the best pacers of the generation.

This time around Bumrah will find support from another young sensation Mohammed Siraj who has been pivotal in India’s latest exploits in Tests.

With Rohit out due to an injury, the batting lineup will be expected to be opened by K L Rahul and Mayank Agarwal. Both the Karnataka batters have now a fair share of experience on their side. They will carry the burden to give a flying start. The South African attack is fiery and is way more fatal in their own backyard. It will be a tough hurdle for India to bat strong against the challenge.

No Jadeja , will the lower middle order survive Rabada?

In the absence of premier all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, India might look forward to including Hanuma Vihari to strengthen their batting lineup. The South African pitches are unlikely to assist the spinners. Yet Ashwin has the potential to get the crucial breakthroughs whenever a partnership seems to build.

Live-action of the 1st Test is set to begin from December 26, popularly known as Boxing Day.

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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