India’s tour of South Africa is set to begin on Boxing Day of 2021 and the anticipation is rising by the day as we get closer to what promises to be a historic series. Team India would be eyeing their first Test series win on the South African land and at the same time, the Proteas would be hoping to continue their dominance in home conditions.
What was unexpected when the Indian squad was announced that the BCCI confirmed what many ‘Viratians’ were worried about, King Kohli has been stripped from his duties as the ODI captain and Rohit Sharma has been named as the leader of the Indian white-ball setup. Very recently news broke that Sharma has been ruled out of the Test series of South Africa due to a hamstring injury and it’s unclear whether he’d be available for the ODI series starting January 19, 2022. But in this piece, we’re solely concentrating on the Indian Test squad for the tour of South Africa.
Virat Kohli (Captain), KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Priyank Panchal, Shreyas Iyer, Hanuma Vihari
The Indian batting unit was pretty successful in a tough tour of England but one of the key men on the tour was India’s opener Rohit Sharma. With Sharma ruled out for the Test series, it seems like man-in-form Mayank Agarwal would start the tour as the first-choice opener along with his Karnataka mate KL Rahul.
A big concern that India needs to address would be the form of Ajinkya Rahane. The Mumbai-born batter was removed from the vice-captaincy for this tour. It seems like the team is preparing to move on from Rahane. If he doesn’t make it in the first XI then would the team pick Hanuma Vihari who has the experience of batting in overseas Tests for the country or would they go with the flamboyant Shreyas Iyer, who has had a solid start to his Test career albeit in home conditions.
The team would be hoping for their experienced players in Virat Kohli, KL Rahul and Cheteshwar Pujara to come good on this tour. The bulk of the scoring would be on the shoulders of the trio.
Rishabh Pant, Wriddhiman Saha
Wriddhiman Saha had a good series with the bat and the gloves against the Kiwis but Rishabh Pant would be all set to take back the gloves from the veteran. Rishabh’s form would be key for India on this tour. They’d be hoping for his counter-attacking style to come good as it worked at the Gabba Test.
R Ashwin, Jayant Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj
The bowling department for the Indian Test team has been performing exceptionally well in overseas Tests. An argument can be made for them to be the best in the world currently. Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Siraj would be licking their lips with the prospect of bowling on South African decks that would do plenty for the faster bowlers.
It’ll be interesting to see whether Ravi Ashwin makes it to the playing XI or not. Throughout the England tour, Ashwin sat on the sidelines as Ravindra Jadeja was preferred because of his batting prowess. With Jadeja out injured, India could strengthen their batting in the lower order by including Shardul Thakur. Jayant Yadav has been named as the backup spinner for the tour.
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