After a 2-1 T20I series win over Australia at home, India host South Africa in the white-ball formats. The teams start with a three-T20I series which will be followed by an ODI series of as many matches. With the series against the Proteas being India’s last T20 assignment before the T20 World Cup in Australia, Rohit Sharma and company will try to put their best foot forward in the matches. Playing against South Africa, the number 3 ranked T20I side, will definitely test the preparation of the Indian team. However, head coach Rahul Dravid and captain Rohit would be happy with it.
Hardik Pandya and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have been rested for the series, while the participation of some more Indian players also seems skeptical due to fitness issues.
Here is what we think could be India’s playing XI in the first T20I vs South Africa:
Rohit Sharma (Captain): The India captain is in good form. He played a handy knock of 46 not out against Australia in the second T20I. He remains the key for India’s quick starts.
KL Rahul (vice-captain): The right-handed batter started the recently-concluded series against Australia with an impressive fifty but failed to maintain consistency and returned scores of 10 and 1 in the rest two matches.
Virat Kohli: The batter is finally back in his groove. While the Asia Cup saw Kohli racing to his 71st international century — a ton that came after almost 3 years – the series against Australia saw him scoring a match-winning 63 in the last game.
Suryakumar Yadav: The right-hander continues to prove his mettle as a 360-degree player. He scored 46 against Australia in the first T20I and a sensational 69 in the last game.
Dinesh Karthik (wk): Comes another set of matches and Dinesh Karthik is still not getting enough game time as a batter. However, it might be because the team management wants to test his finishing skills in adverse situations.
Axar Patel: There is no question on the place of Axar Patel as the all-rounder ended up being the top bowler in the India vs Australia series. Across three games, Axar picked 8 wickets, five more than the second-placed Nathan Ellis,
Ravichandran Ashwin: The off-spinner will be raring to go if given a chance against South Africa. Notably, he was in the squad against Australia but didn’t get a game.
Yuzvendra Chahal: After failing to find rhythm in the first two T20I games vs Australia, the leg-spinner fared well in the final match. His wicket-taking intent has been missing of late and that is a matter of concern for India.
Arshdeep Singh: The left-arm pacer is likely to be included into the playing XI against South Africa for the first T20I. He is a future asset for the Indian team and this is why he has got a good backing from the team management.
Deepak Chahar: The right-arm pacer is likely to be roped in to fill the void of Hardik Pandya in the team. Besides bowling crucial overs at the start of an innings, Chahar can also be handy with the bat in slog overs.
Jasprit Bumrah: The right-arm pacer leaked 50 runs in four overs the third T20I against Australia and he must be looking to return to his best.
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