The Test and One-Day International (ODI) teams for India’s forthcoming tour to South Africa have not been confirmed yet. The Chetan Sharma-led selection panel, on the other hand, already has much deliberation ahead of it. According to reports, Shikhar Dhawan is expected to return to the One-Day International (ODI) team, regardless of the external circumstances. This will be some positive cricket news for the Indian fans.
According to a source, the opener is expected to be picked to the team for the three one-day internationals against South Africa. Even though he is in his late 30s, the Delhi hitter has been a consistent performer in one-day internationals for quite some time. He was the captain of the Men in Blue on their trip to Sri Lanka earlier this summer. The opener was impressive in the IPL 2021 tournament with the cricket bat.
According to this article by the Times of India regarding the Test team, Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara are expected to keep their positions. This is despite the poor form that the duo has shown in recent times. The selectors seem to be eager to provide them with a longer rope. Although he has been in bad form, it is quite improbable that India’s vice-captain in the longest format of the game would be named to the playing XI this time around.
Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara are in for a tough time
While Rahane and Pujara have been regulars in India’s Test squad for a long time, their recent record hasn’t been very encouraging, to put it mildly. Specifically, the Mumbai batter is going through possibly the worst stretch of his professional life.
In his past 16 tests, he has scored an average of only 24.39. Except for his century against Australia at Melbourne Cricket Ground during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2020-21, he hasn’t had memorable innings in recent memory. Several batters, including Shreyas Iyer and Hanuma Vihari, have made compelling arguments for taking his spot as India’s number 5 batter in Test matches.
However, in the unofficial Test series against South Africa A, the batter from Andhra Pradesh has struck three back-to-back half-centuries. At the same time, the 27-year-old Shreyas Iyer produced a stunning century on his debut at Kanpur. While Cheteshwar Pujara has been inconsistent recently, he has been particularly unreliable recently. While he scored two half-centuries and a 45 during the England trip, he could not produce any significant knocks during the just-finished series with New Zealand.
India will play three Tests and the same number of One-Day Internationals, while the four Twenty20 Internationals that were originally scheduled will be played later. The tour was originally planned to begin on December 17, but it was postponed due to worries about a new Omicron Covid strain detected in the area at the time of the postponement.
There won’t be too many shocks in coach Rahul Dravid’s first overseas assignment since he does not believe in upsetting the apple cart, which means that Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane are likely to be boarding the Johannesburg aircraft as soon as it leaves the ground in India.
Will these announcements help Team India in the long run?
Some of the young emerging players within the Indian team look up to these stars. This means that they will want them to stay on and guide them till they are ready to become independent talents and lead from the front. This is something that must be on the mind of the team management and the BCCI too.
The focus is to put in some solid performances in the series that follow and deliver great results. With that being said, the change in captaincy and the different charge could also make an impact. These young talents are focused on making an impression and it will be interesting to see what results they deliver.
The tour of South Africa will not be an easy one though these youngsters have some fight and grit in them. That was seen on the tour of Sri Lanka, where Team India sent an alternative side, while many of their first-choice players were away in England. Let’s see what happens next, with Covid also playing a part in this upcoming tour.