Committed to winning their maiden Test series in South Africa after beating Australia and England on their soil, the Indian team is now set to hit the ground with the right combination for ‘Boxing Day’, the first Test match starting today. will be a challenge.
India had toured South Africa for the first time in 1992 but they have yet to win a Test series here. In such a situation, Kohli would like to leave no stone unturned to become the first captain to achieve this feat. South Africa is no longer a strong team in international cricket as it has been going through a period of transformation over the years. In view of this, it is being considered a great opportunity for Kohli and his team.
Opponent weak on paper:
The Indian team looks better than its rival team and if it proves itself better on the field as well, then it will also be able to win the series in South Africa for the first time. This series is important in many ways for the Indian team, especially Kohli, and he will be determined to make it a memorable one. Kohli will look to dominate a team whose only two players, captain Dean Elgar (69 Tests) and wicket-keeper batsman Quinton de Kock (53 Tests) have played more than 50 matches. There is good news for India that one of the world’s fastest bowlers, Anrich Nortje will not be there to support Kagiso Rabada. As far as the Indian batsmen are concerned, they will not worry much about left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj.
You will also have to prove yourself:
While Kohli will have to get the best out of his players against a relatively weak team, he will also have to play a big knock himself as he has not been able to score a century in international cricket since 2019. Meanwhile, his average was less than 30, which is not in favor of his fame. Before the start of the tour, Kohli had started a new discussion by targeting Sourav Ganguly, President and former captain of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). But those who know Kohli understand that such incidents motivate the Indian captain to perform well.
It will not be easy for skipper Kohli to pick between the less experienced Shreyas Iyer and the experienced but in-form Ajinkya Rahane as the number five batsman. Not only this, one will also have to work hard to choose between Shardul Thakur or Ishant Sharma as the fifth bowler. In the Mumbai Test against New Zealand, the Indian team management dropped Rahane and Ishant as injuries but if they fail to make it to the playing XI on Sunday, it will be considered that they have been dropped.
Pitch & Weather ::
The pitch of Centurion is slow in the beginning and gradually increases the pace on it. It has proved to be even more helpful for the fast bowlers on the second and third days. There is a possibility of light rain with thunderstorms for the first two days.
Probable Playing XI::
India: KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant, R Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Siraj
South Africa: Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Keegan Pietersen, Rasi van der Dusen, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Viaan Mulder, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Duane Olivier
Virat’s target South Africa series (AFP photo)