South Africa begin their Indian tour with the T20 series against a strong Indian side. In the absence of Faf Du Plessis, South Africa are led by the talented Quinton De Kock. The South African team lacks experiences in the batting and will rely heavily on the captain and David Miller to guide a young team. The bowling attack for the visitors have some talent and will be led by the brilliant Kagiso Rabada. In the absence of Imran Tahir, Tabraiz Shamsi will be leading the South African spin attack.
South Africa has had reasonable success in this format and this series will allow them to prepare for the T20 World Cup in Australia next year. The absence of experienced campaigners from their playing XI should give them a chance to see how the young players react to pressure which they will experience a lot against a strong Indian team.
The Indian team on the other has lots of experience in both bowling and batting department. Hardik Pandya returns to the side which gives India a nice balance with the T20 team. Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan return at the top and with Virat Kohli coming in at number 3. A good series in the West Indies means that Shreyas Iyer will take the number four spot. It will be interesting if KL Rahul or Manish Pandey make the XI as India does have 3 spin bowling all-rounders as well in the squad.
The Indian team had a good series against West Indies which has given them the confidence to go with the same young bowling attack. Navdeep Saini who impressed in the Carribean keeps his spot and so does Khaleel Ahmed. The spin attack also has Washington Sundar and Krunal Pandya along with the experienced Ravindra Jadeja.
Rohit Sharma (India): Rohit Sharma’s T20 record is impressive. He averages a shade under 33 with an impressive strike rate of 136. South Africa’s strength this series is their new-ball attack and Rohit’s batting at the start will be crucial for India. He had a quiet series against West Indies and would like to make amends for that against South Africa.
Navdeep Saini (India): Saini made an impressive debut against West Indies and this will be a different kind of test for him at home against South Africa. He has the talent and pace and with South African batting lacking experience, his bowling to Quinton de Kock with the new ball will be crucial.
Quinton De Kock (South Africa): de Kock is South Africa’s captain for this series and also their best limited-overs bat. He averages 27 with the bat in this format but again he will be crucial at the start in this inexperienced batting line up. He will rely on himself and David Miller to provide guidance to the young batting side.
Kagiso Rabada (South Africa): For all the success Rabada has had in the Test format, his limited-overs performances haven’t scaled the same heights. In this team of young bowlers, he will important to guide the bowling attack against the might of Indian batting.
Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (c), Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya/Ravindra Jadeja, Washington Sundar, Navdeep Saini, Rahul Chahar, Khaleel Ahmed
South Africa XI:
Quinton De Kock (c & wk), Reeza Hendricks, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Temba Bavuma, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Bjorn Fortuin, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Anrich Nortje
What they said?
“Like you said, it’s a young side and we’ve got a lot of energy amongst the squad. There are actually a lot of guys who have played a lot of cricket, in the A-side and domestically. So, all of us are really, really experienced in each department and it’s just a great stepping stone.” Said David Miller about the South African squad for the series.
“We wanted to give opportunities to players who have done well for the past two years in the domestic circuit and T20 cricket in the IPL. It’s about finding the best possible balance we can for the side and not necessarily stick to one particular type of balance. If other teams can bat till number nine, so why can’t we? Whatever decisions are made, they are made looking at the future” said Virat Kohli talking about Indian team selection.
With the T20 world cup, just a year away from both the camps will be looking to identifying the right combinations along with obviously trying the series. South Africa will hope that in the absence of some of their stars the young players will step up to challenge a good Indian team. For India, though this series will once again be a platform for the young players to show they belong and impress the captain to become a regular when the main players return.