Monday, November 25, 2013

India's tour of South Africa, Dec 2013, Complete Match Schedules and Team Preview

Next month India will face South Africa for a three ODI and one test match at their home turf. Considering that the South African cricket team is in full form from their recent matches, India may face some resistance what it has experiences in the recent past against Australia and West Indies in the home turf.

Test squad: MS Dhoni (capt & wk), M Vijay, S Dhawan, C Pujara, V Kohli, R Sharma, A Rahane, R Ashwin, B Kumar, U Yadav, M Shami, R Jadeja, Z Khan, A Rayudu, W Saha (wk), I Sharma, P Ojha ;

ODI squad: MS Dhoni (capt & wk), S Dhawan, S Raina, V Kohli, R Sharma, A Rahane, Y Singh, R Ashwin, B Kumar, M Shami, A Rayudu, U Yadav, I Sharma, M Sharma, R Jadeja, A Mishra.

Zaheer Khan, the Indian pacer has been called back for action in South Africa and has been included in the Test squad for the tour of South Africa. The 88-Test veteran Khan has been rewarded for his impressive showing in first-class cricket. But unfortunately, Gautam Gambhir, who scored a remarkable match wining 153 runs just few days back, was not included in the team. A second wicket keeper in form of Wriddhiman Saha has been included instead.

Date & Time
Thu Dec 5
1st ODI - South Africa v India
New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
12:30 GMT | 14:30 local
20:30 HKT 20:30 SGT
Sun Dec 8
2nd ODI - South Africa v India
Kingsmead, Durban
08:00 GMT | 10:00 local
16:00 HKT 16:00 SGT
Wed Dec 11
3rd ODI - South Africa v India
SuperSport Park, Centurion
12:30 GMT | 14:30 local
20:30 HKT 20:30 SGT
Sat Dec 14 - Sun Dec 15
South African Invitation XI v Indians
Willowmoore Park, Benoni
08:00 GMT | 10:00 local
16:00 HKT 16:00 SGT
Wed Dec 18 - Sun Dec 22
1st Test - South Africa v India
New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
08:30 GMT | 10:30 local
16:30 HKT 16:30 SGT
On the other hand, Ishant Sharma, whose woeful performance during the recent concluded Australian visit of India snatched a match from the hands of the Indian team has been included as part of the both Test as well as Test  squads.

The left-arm pacer, who last played a Test in December 2012, has attained supreme match fitness by sweating it out for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy. Khan, who will lead the five-member pace department, is the most experienced member of the squad with six Test appearances in the ‘Rainbow Nation’. In fact, only four others - skipper MS Dhoni, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ishant - know what’s it like to play with the red ball in South Africa.

Baroda’s Ambati Rayudu is the only newcomer in the squad that is loaded with in-form Shikhar Dhawan, Pujara, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma and perennial benchwarmer Ajinkya Rahane.

Khan will have to mentor the likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami and Ishant on the bouncy wickets there. The spin department, led by R Ashwin, comprises left-arm spinners Pragyan Ojha and Ravindra Jadeja, who needs to prove himself with the bat before he can be called an all-rounder.

With six consecutive wins — 4-0 against Australia and 2-0 against the West Indies — on home soil, India are sure on a high, but let’s not forget those eight straight defeats Dhoni’s men suffered in Australia and England. The squad, especially the batting unit, is relatively inexperienced. And that’s why Gambhir’s absence is all the more baffling.

There aren’t any major surprises in the ODI squad, but the likes of Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh must consider themselves lucky. Raina, who last scored an ODI fifty against Zimbabwe in August, won’t exactly feel at home in South Africa. The left-hander’s inability to tackle the short ball is well known. Yuvraj was at his best in the one-off T20 against Australia at Rajkot, where he smashed an unbeaten 77 off 35 balls. However, his highest score in eight subsequent ODIs has been 28.

Rahane and Yadav have been included in the 16-member squad, while Jaydev Unadkat and R Vinay Kumar are out. Leggie Amit Mishra is the third spinner.