2013-14 is the year when India got a chance of nearly beating South Africa in the first test of the series. With the absence of Sachin Tendulkar rightly felt, the much inexperienced Indian side under the captaincy of M.S. Dhoni gave a tough fight to the proteas. With Zaheer Khan the only frontline bowler, and depending much on the spinners the lack of fast bowling skills was clearly portrayed at that time.
INDIAN CRICKET TEAM UNDER KOHLI’S CAPTAINCY
But now things have changed. The year is 2018 where India has not lost a single series under the captaincy of Virat Kohli. This will be the first time that Kohli will be leading the team in the full series abroad. The last time he led the team was for couple of matches in Australia where they nearly got overboard. The key point to the success of this Indian team is fitness. We have always seen that India has the batting strength to defeat any opponent but what lacked was fitness. To convert the sudden ones into two’s, to create a run out opportunities, to not give away easy singles. The likes of Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja have taken the fielding unit to a different level. With the captain himself much focused on the fielding unit, the players are also putting much effort to increase their fitness level. The aggressiveness of the captain also adds as a boost to motivate the team up in some situations.
The senior team should also keep in mind that the current under 19 Indian team clinched a series in South Africa. So the conditions may favor the home side, but it is not an impossible task to defeat them.
PLAYERS TO LOOK FORWARD
Virat Kohli, Chetaswar Pujara, Murali Vijay are the three pillars of Indian Batting line up in tests who has the calm and composite nature to adapt to the situation and not get instigated by the loose balls. The performance of Murali Vijay in the test team has always been appreciable. Ajinkya Rahane has a good test record abroad, but has been going through a tough run for quite a long time. When the others scored runs in the test against Sri Lanka he was the one missing out. The captain has always led from the front playing the key role in every situation that has been put forward, whether it is ODI, Test or T20. Rohit Sharma just got his 3rd double century against Sri Lanka. So much is expected out of him in the upcoming series along with his partner Shikhar Dhawan who is quite unpredictable in some situations. The calmness and the experience that M.S.Dhoni brings in the side is also quite remarkable. Hardik Pandya has always been an important installation in the team contributing in many cameos with the bat, having an average bowling record and a magnificent fielder. India’s leading wicket-taker, Ravichandran Ashwin will be tested in the bouncy tracks of the South Africa. Not to rely on the spinners, the fast bowling combination of Bhuveneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bhumrah is also very lethal. Though Kumar is a bit more experience than Bhumrah, they should not face many difficulties in adjusting to the track. The latest combination of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal may need some time to adjust to the track and it is up to the selectors on how to utilize them properly.
DO’S AND DON’TS FOR THE INDIAN TEAM
There are always certain Do’s and Don’ts the team should follow in order to yield the better result.
- The team should pick the right combination of fast bowlers other than the right combination of spinners.
- Utilizing MSD in the right place and give him proper time in the crease
- Not let Amla, Du Plessis, and De Villiers settle
- Since a lot of the Indian players share the same franchise with the Proteas in the IPL they should keep in mind that a lot of their weaknesses are already exposed and will be capitalized on
- Watching out for Morkel, Philander, and Rabada. South Africa recently finished a test against Zimbabwe in a day and a half taking 19 wickets in 2 sessions. So it is quite evitable that how much strength they are bringing to their bowling unit. Playing with a straight bat and not doing many experiments has always brought good results in the field.
- South Africa stumbles a lot under pressure. The key is always to bat first and set up a good score.
THE TASK AHEAD
This upcoming series starting from 5th January is very important for India, as not only they are starting their campaign overseas whereas they might again face certain criticisms of losing series abroad after having an undefeated run in the home soil. This can give a great boost to this side comprised of both experiences and the inexperienced player to start conquering the world. The performances of these players will secure them a spot at the 2019 World Cup.