India vs South Africa ODI Preview
Written by Bhawana Jarwal
After a closely fought Test battle, both India and South Africa will lock horns for a 3 match ODI series starting on January 19th at the Boland Park, Paarl. The first two ODIs will be played at the same venue, and Capetown will host the third and final ODI of the series. India will be playing an ODI match for the first time in almost 7 months, the last being played in Sri Lanka on July 2021 when most of the seniors were in England, preparing for the Test series. The ODI World Cup is nearly 22 months away, and every match from hereon will be vital for players to perform and make themselves a strong case of contention for the tournament set to be held in India.
South Africa will be coming with a fully confident and high on zest team, after their remarkable Test series triumph over India, clinching the freedom series trophy. Even though a few players are not part of the ODI setup, the majority are in the white ball team as well. Recently, SA had to postpone the Netherlands ODI series due to a rise in COVID cases, and so this series will be crucial for them in the ODI Super League standings.
The visitors will be playing without their newly appointed captain Rohit Sharma and all-rounders Ravindra Jadeja and Hardik Pandya in the series, but still, the depth in the white-ball format in India is something have in abundance. With proper guidance and strides in the right direction, there will be plenty of promising prospects to be proud of in the next decade for the men in blue and the BCCI.
Stand-in captain KL Rahul is likely to be shifted as an opener in the absence of Rohit, and they might play both Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant in the middle order, followed up with Venkatesh Iyer as a fast-bowling all-rounder.
One significant discussion would be the return of Ravichandran Ashwin to the ODI team after a quadrennial. Encouraging performances in the recently concluded T20 World cup, and the New Zealand T20 series helped him break the 4-year hiatus, thus receiving the call into the ODI system. Head coach Rahul Dravid will be in a conundrum, regarding the decision on opening choice along with Dhawan, and also whether to play Shardul Thakur or Deepak Chahar at 7. KL Rahul has been successful at number 5 in the last couple of years, but if Rahul bats at 5, only one among Shreyas Iyer or Rishabh Pant can play. If both are to make an appearance together, India needs Venkatesh Iyer to bowl a full quota of 10 overs. So ideally, for the balance of the team, India might ask KL Rahul to open in the absence of Rohit Sharma.
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KL Rahul (C), Shikhar Dhawan, Ruturaj Gaekwad, Virat Kohli, Surya Kumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Venkatesh Iyer, Rishabh Pant (WK), Ishan Kishan (WK), Y Chahal, R Ashwin, J Bumrah (VC), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Prasidh Krishna, Shardul Thakur, Mohd. Siraj, Navdeep Saini, Jayant Yadav.
Predicted India XI:
KL Rahul (C), Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (WK), Venkatesh Iyer, Deepak Chahar/ Shardul Thakur, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ravichandran Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah
Unlike in T20s, Proteas are not having a great time in the ODI format. Lost series against Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and a draw in the series against Ireland last year, it’s high time for them to come back into this format, standing at 9th position with just 3 wins in 10 games.
They will be keen to change things from this India series to get back on track. De Kock returning to the side is a big positive for them, as he adds experience into the batting unit along with Aiden Markram, Jannemann Malan, Temba Bavuma, Van Der Dussen, David Miller, and Kyle Verreynne.
Marco Jansen gets a maiden ODI call after his impressive run in recent times, and he has a good idea of this Indian side, playing against these players of the Indian white-ball setup through IPL 2021. In the absence of Anrich Nortje, they will be counting on Kagiso Rabada to continue his form, as he did in the Test series, along with the experience of Keshav Maharaj and Lungi Ngidi.
The hosts have a strong opening pair in De Kock and Janneman Malan, as both have been consistent at the top in the last year. Also, Rassie Van Der Dussen has been their backbone in the middle order. We might see the debut of Marco Jansen, as he can be an X factor with his vigor and can provide extra balance. Their star T20 performer Shamsi might miss out due to the combination as per the team structure.
The bowling attack will be spearheaded by Kagiso Rabada along with Lungi Ngidi and Keshav Maharaj, who has been their leading spinner in ODI format.
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South Africa Squad:
Temba Bavuma (C), Keshav Maharaj (VC), Quinton de Kock, Zubayr Hamza, Marco Jansen, Janneman Malan, Sisanda Magala, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Wayne Parnell, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen, Kyle Verreynne.
De Kock, Janneman Malan, Temba Bavuma, Aiden Markram, Rassie Van Der Dussen, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi.
History from Paarl:
Paarl will be hosting an ODI after two long years. The last time it hosted a match was in 2020, in which South Africa beat Australia by 74 runs.
India last played at Paarl was way back in 2003, where they beat the Netherlands by 68 runs in the ODI World Cup.
Stats from past:
Virat Kohli has scored 558 runs from 6 matches in the 2018 ODI series in South Africa.
Yuzvendra Chahal picked 16 wickets from 6 ODIs when they last visited the rainbow nation in the 2018 ODI series.
India last met South Africa in an ODI match was in the 2019 World Cup, where the Kohli-led team defeated South Africa by 6 wickets.
Quotes from the players:
Jasprit Bumrah said “As a bowler, when I first came into the team, I used to ask a lot of questions to the seniors. In this transition phase if anyone asks me questions, I share my experience with them. Sometimes their inputs also help. If a new guy comes in and gives a fresh perspective, we take that seriously”.
Temba Bavuma said “Perceptions are changing about this South African white-ball team. In the past, it was said that we lacked the ability to take on spin and that we struggled in overseas conditions. I feel like we proved a lot of people wrong at the T20 World Cup”.
ODI series is going to be close combat as both teams would be looking to get a move on. On paper, both teams looks evenly poised, but the one who gets adapted to the conditions quickly will have the upperhand. South Africa fell in the spin trap during the 2018 ODI series and so, the experience of Chahal and Ashwin can play a vital role in this series as well which can be one of the crucial moments in the ODI series. Although India experiences a slight imbalance in the absence of Jadeja, Hardik in the lower-order, but still, the batting lineup led by Kohli and bowling unit led by Bumrah can overcome the hurdles and win the series 2-1.