India’s Tour Of South Africa – The preview

After a long and rather ugly episode of miscommunication between the board and Virat Kohli, the Indian team will be back in action on the field. India’s tour to South Africa will kickstart on the 26th of December, 2021. The Tour consists of three Test matches and three ODIs.

After successfully winning test matches in Australia and England, India will be eyeing to break the Protean jinx. The last time team India traveled to South Africa was in 2018. India lost to the hosts by 2-1. 

The unconquered Quest 

South Africa is the only country where the Indian team has not won even a single test series. There is indeed a lot at stake this time around. 2021 is seen as Team India’s best chance for numerous reasons.

The spearhead of Indian bowling line-up Jasprit Bumrah made his Test debut when India last played a red-ball series in SA. The team will back on his experience to get the team through. 

Virat Kohli has had a dry run for a couple of years. The quick, bouncy pitches in South Africa suit the batter’s style. Following an unpleasant time off the field, Virat would be itching for redemption for the team and himself.

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The Protean Perspective

The hosts will miss out on the experience of the seniors who have heralded the team’s success in tests for the longest time. Since the retirement of Ab De Villiers, Faf Du Plessis, Dale Steyn, Hashim Amla, JP Duminy South African team are yet to find a strong central figure in the team for it to revolve around.

Aiden Markram, Dean Elgar, Quinton De Kock, and Kagiso Rabada will have to try and fill in for the responsible positions against a dominant Indian side.

The South African speedster Kagiso Rabada has not been in the highest wicket-takers for a while. Dean Elgar led side will be expecting him to lead the pace attack. Anrich Nortje and Duanne Olivier will also be very crucial for the hosts.

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The challenges

Notwithstanding the previous record, team India will be starting as favorites in this series, given their recent overseas form. However, team India is not short of concerns on the field.

The Indian team will be missing out on the duties of the newly appointed test vice-captain Rohit Sharma. The White ball captain has been enjoying the opening position in the tests and is also one team’s highest run-scorer in the last few encounters.

The opening spot will, most probably, be filled by Mayank Agrawal. The Bangalore batter has an extraordinary record at home but is yet to prove his mettle in testing overseas conditions. The opener will be eager to make the most of this opportunity, as it might well cement his place in the team.

The middle-order woes have been a problem for a while now. The trio consisting of Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, and Virat Kohli have not played to their merit. Although the skipper has shown some glimpses with valuable contributions, the other two would need to score big. 

With Shreyas Iyer and Vihari in the pool, there is enough pressure on everyone to pull up their socks if presented with an opportunity.

Rahul Dravid has started his coaching stint with a successful home series against New Zealand. The South African challenge will be hard for him. It is not only the performance of the team that will be scanned critically but also the team selection and the off-field strategy.

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