Sport

TOUGH CHALLENGE

India’s Kohli and Sharma rested for white-ball matches against South Africa

India’s Kohli and Sharma rested for white-ball matches against South Africa
Virat Kohli (right) and Rohit Sharma (left) of India take a single during the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 final match between India and Australia at Narendra Modi Stadium on 19 November, 2023 in Ahmedabad, India. (Photo: Isuru Sameera Peiris/Gallo Images)

The BCCI announced a 31-player contingent for the eight-match tour of South Africa with stars Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma only available for the Test series.

In a flex of resources and talent, India announced 31 players for their month-long three-format tour of South Africa.

Ruturaj Gaikwad, Mukesh Kumar and Shreyas Iyer are the only three players selected in all three squads for the three T20Is, three One-day internationals and two Test matches.

There is also a captain for each side with Rohit Sharma leading the Test side, while the regular captain is being rested for the white-ball section of the tour.

Wicketkeeper batter KL Rahul will take over the reins for the three ODIs while Suryakumar Yadav will continue to captain the T20I side as he has been doing for India’s ongoing five-match series against Australia.

Like Sharma, India’s star batter Virat Kohli will also miss the white-ball leg of the tour to South Africa after requesting a break from the two short formats after the Cricket World Cup last month.

India’s leading fast bowler in the World Cup, Mohammed Shami has been selected in the Test squad but is currently undergoing medical treatment and his availability is subject to fitness according to a Board of Control for Cricket in India statement.

Read more in Daily Maverick: India dominates the world of cricket both on and off the pitch

Rohit Sharma of India.

Rohit Sharma of India. (Photo: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Test focus

The two-match Test series forms part of the World Test Championship. It will be India’s second in this cycle (2023-2025) after winning a two-match series against West Indies 1-0 in the Caribbean in July this year.

Stalwart batter Ajinkya Rahane who was vice captain for the tour of West Indies has been dropped for the tour to South Africa later this month.

Instead, Iyer, who was injured in July, has taken the middle-order batter’s place. There is also no space for the experienced Cheteshwar Pujara.

The two-match series will be the Proteas’ first red-ball match, and first match of this cycle of the World Test Championship, since March when West Indies visited local shores.

Virat Kohli of India

Virat Kohli of India. (Photo: Isuru Sameera Peiris/Gallo Images)

South Africa won that series 2-0 with head coach Shukri Conrad taking charge of the Test side for the first time then.

The last time India visited South Africa in 2021/2022, the Proteas ended the series as 2-1 victors and regained the Freedom Trophy. India has never won a Test series in South Africa.

The Indian team will participate in three T20Is, three ODIs and two Test matches. During the tour, India A will also play two four-day matches against South Africa A and one inter-squad three-day match.

India’s tour kicks-off with the T20I series opener in Durban on 10 December and concludes in Cape Town with the final Test scheduled for 3-7 January. DM

T20I series:

Sunday, 10 December

South Africa vs India – Kingsmead Stadium, Durban

 Tuesday, 12 December

South Africa vs India – St George’s Park, Gqeberha

 Thursday, 14 December

South Africa vs India – Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg 

 

ODI Series:

Sunday, 17 December – Pink Day

South Africa vs India –  Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg 

 Tuesday, 19 December

South Africa vs India – St George’s Park, Gqeberha

 Thursday, 21 December

South Africa vs India –  Boland Park, Paarl

 

Test Series:

 26 December – 30 December

South Africa vs India – SuperSport Park, Centurion

 03 January – 07 January

South Africa vs India – Newlands Cricket Ground, Cape Town

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