India Playing XI vs South Africa: The Indian captain opened up on the team combination for the first Test in Visakhapatnam.
The first Test of the ongoing India’s tour of South Africa will be played from tomorrow at the Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium in Visakhapatnam. While it will be India’s second shot at the ongoing ICC World Test Championship, it will be the first for the visitors.
Having won both the Test matches that they have played so far in the tournament, India are on top of the points table in the tournament at this point in time. Apart from South Africa, Bangladesh and Pakistan are yet to play a Test in the tournament.
India Playing XI vs South Africa
Wriddhiman Saha or Rishabh Pant?
Speaking to the reporters during the pre-series press conference in Visakhapatnam, India captain Virat Kohli opened up on the potential combination for the first Test. In what came as a massive change was in the wicket-keeper’s position as Kohli confirmed that Wriddhiman Saha will play ahead of Rishabh Pant tomorrow.
Standing tall on his reputation, Pant had kick-started his Test career with a maiden century in England last year and followed it up with another one in Australia earlier this year. After the Sydney hundred, Pant had become the only visiting wicket-keeper (other than Jeff Dujon) to score a Test century each in England and Australia.
Rishabh Pant loses wicket-keeper’s spot for Test series v SA. Not so much for his lack of batting success in WI (tho that would have contributed too) as for his glovework. Saha’s superior ‘keeping skills on pitches with turn and probably low bounce swung it in his favour
— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) October 1, 2019
It was due to the same reason that fans had chosen Pant ahead of Saha for keeping wickets in Test matches. The 34-year old wicket-keeper batsman had last played for India during the tour of South Africa more than 18 months ago.
The two ways of looking at Pant’s omission are that either the team management wanted to pick the better wicket-keeper out of the two names for home tests or that he has been penalised for his poor form in white-ball cricket of late.
Will Ravichandran Ashwin play vs South Africa?
Another point which Kohli touched upon was regarding premier off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin. After surprisingly benching Ashwin for the first Test in West Indies, the team management had decided to back their decision in the second Test as well.
Having said that, Kohli has now confirmed that India will play both their top spinners in Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja in the first Test. Ashwin had last played for India during the tour of Australia in December. In 38 home Tests, Ashwin has picked 234 wickets at an average of 22.68, an economy rate of 2.76 and a strike rate of 49.2.
Coming on the back of scoring 289 runs in two Tests at an average of 96.33 in West Indies, batsman Hanuma Vihari is set to play which means that India will play a couple of fast bowlers to complete their bowling attack.
Rohit Sharma set to open
While there was no doubt regarding batsman Rohit Sharma would be opening the batting tomorrow, Kohli further assured that the 32-year old cricketer will be given enough time at the top of the order.
“We are in no hurry with Rohit Sharma as opener. He will be given time and space to find his rhythm and the way he wants to play at the top,” Kohli added.