India are up against South Africa in the African country and the long tour starts with a three match test series commencing on 5th January.
India’s form in South Africa hasn’t been up to the marks as the subcontinent giants have never won a test series against the Proteas at their den. The last win came in the year 2011 and they failed to win any of the matches in the last tour in 2013. So it will be an important tour for the number one test team of the world as they will be up against a formidable South Africa side.
In terms of recent forms, India have been terrific but all their results have come in the sub continent, so Virat Kohli and his men will have to raise the bar to match the Proteas in the upcoming series. A strong squad has been selected for the tour and here are the 5 players who will be key for India’s success in this tour-
1. Virat Kohli:
The first name has to be skipper Virat Kohli as India’s flamboyant captain will be the most important in this tour. Kohli has had a superb 2017 and the recently married man will be eyeing to continue his rich vein of form in the new year as well. His batting and captaincy both will be significant for the Indian side to clinch and overturn the Proteas. Kohli had a good tour four years earlier when he scored a hundred at Johannesburg but this version of Kohli is much more superior and Indian supporters will be banking on their captain big time.
2. Murali Vijay:
Murali Vijay has grown in statures in the longest form of cricket in the last year or so. He missed the tour to Sri Lanka but he came back and has produced some good performances at home. At the top of the order, a player of Vijay’s technique will be very important as the team will be banking on him to give a steady start. The lanky opener is coming on the back of couple of centuries but his task will be a lot harder against the South African pace bowlers.
3. Ajinkya Rahane:
Few will be surprised to see his name in the list as India’s vice captain has been through a lean period recently, but Ajinkya Rahane is someone India will have to rely in the middle order. The pocket size powerhouse has been a good performer in the away tours of India and his performances in Australia, New Zealand and England has been very impressive. On the back of those things, pace and bounce in the South Africa pitches another thing that has never troubled Rahane in the past, so that gives him an upper hand as well. It has to be seen whether he gets a nod ahead of Rohit Sharma or not, but he is much more reliable in the away conditions and will be instrumental for India’s success.
4. Ravichandran Ashwin:
Ravi Ashwin has been India’s strike force in the ball as the off spinner has raced his way to the quickest 300 wickets holder in Tests. The 31 year old undoubtedly is the best spinner in the five day format but his overseas records are not that elite. Previously he has been exposed in Australia and South Africa but Ashwin will be still a massive threat for the SA batsmen. He has improved his technique and approach in bowling which will be instrumental for the team, and along with his bowling, Ashwin’s batting lower down the order will be pivotal as well when the game comes to short margins.
5. Mohammed Shami:
India have gone with four front line pacers and the most important of them perhaps be Mohammed Shami, the Bengal Express. 27 year old Shami has had a decent career so far but he was off the scene due to injury problems, but now has found his form in the Sri Lanka series. In the South Africa pitches, his pace and bounce will be more important than swing and captain Virat Kohli will look forward to Shami to give early breaks. He has picked up 18 wickets in the last five test matches and his fairs in South Africa will be important.