India will be keen to improve their overseas record as they tour South Africa to play three Tests, six ODIs, and three T20s in the month of January. Kohli’s side has experienced golden run in Test cricket as they won their last nine series and are unbeaten in the format since the tour to Sri Lanka in 2015.
India will have to produce their best cricket if they want to upstage and win their first-ever series win in South Africa. Virat Kohli has always called for attacking brand of cricket and the squad picked for the series is an indication that India really wants to win in South Africa. Kohli has been in imperious form with the bat as produced two double centuries against Sri Lanka. He has piled on the runs with the bat with greater consistency than ever before while
Cheteshwar Pujara and Murali Vijay also produced big runs on a regular basis in the format. Shikhar Dhawan will open the innings with Lokesh Rahul for the series while Murali Vijay is reserve opener for the series. Dhawan has made a stellar comeback in the Test arena and has dislodged Vijay to cement his place in the lineup as an opener. Pujara has been splendid form and proven to be a bankable player with the bat after Indian captain Virat Kohli.
Ajinkya Rahane is another one who holds a credible record in overseas conditions. He has produced centuries in England and Australia. Rahane had a good series in South Africa four years back and produced a good performance in a losing cause in a test game played at Durban.
Rohit Sharma is a good player who needs to produce runs with great consistency for India in the five-day format. Sharma has been prolific in the one-day format but has suffered from indifferent performances in the longer format of the game. Wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha is first-choice for India in the format and has done exceedingly after the retirement of MS Dhoni.
Hardik Pandya might be a key player for India in the series as he proven to be match-winner with the bat and ball. Ravindra Jadeja and Ravi Ashwin are two premier spinners for the side while Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami, and Umesh Yadav are three-frontline pacers. Ishant Sharma and Jaspreet Bumrah are two extra pacers picked for the series in-case any one of the first-choice bowlers get sidelined due to injuries.
South Africa will be keen to start their home season on a good note. Faf Du Plessis will want his side to produce their best cricket against India. Du Plessis missed the one-off test against Zimbabwe which South Africa won comfortably at Port Elizabeth.
Aiden Markram produced another superb century against Zimbabwe as the youngster continues to fulfill his potential with the bat at the top of the innings. Dean Elgar missed out on getting good runs in the game at Port Elizabeth. AB de Villiers played superbly and gave his wicket at a critical stage. Temba Bavuma and Quinton de Kock have been terrific in the format for South Africa and have got the side out of trouble on multiple occasions.
Dale Steyn missed the one-off game against Zimbabwe and is expected to play the first game against India on 5th January. Morne Morkel continued his impressive run of form as he bagged five-wicket haul against Zimbabwe. Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander have been superb during this period with the new-ball.
The first Test between hosts South Africa and India will be played at Newlands, Cape Town on 5th January. The second and third will be played at Centurion and Johannesburg. The conclusion of three-match Test series will be followed by six-match one-day series. The opening game of the one-day series will be played at Kingsmead, Durban on 1st February. The other venues for the ODI series are Centurion, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, and Cape Town.
The three T20 international series will be played right after the conclusion of one-day series. The first T20 will be played at Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg on 18th February.It is expected to be a cracker-jack of a series as India take on South Africa in the three-match Test series.