THERE’S a sense of scheduling absurdity to South Africa’s tour of India for white-ball games just four months after they last visited, but today marks the start of the final week of World Cup preparation for both these sides.
Interestingly, a lot has happened in both worlds since June when they previously played each other.
India have had Virat Kohli make an appreciable return to the top of the order, even if his strike rate has some room for improvement. The race for the third pacer option has perhaps narrowed down to Harshal Patel and Arshdeep Singh, with both having a chance to impress in the South Africa fixtures, while the team management’s preference of Dinesh Karthik over Rishabh Pant is also starting to take shape.
For South Africa, life in the T20I lane has been refreshingly good in the last 12 months – winning 13 of their 18 T20Is. Since sharing the honours in the five games with India in June, South Africa went on to win a series in England and against Ireland, finding consistent top-order riches along the way.
The dilemma for them will be about who makes way for Temba Bavuma, the regular skipper who returns having just been overlooked by all six franchises at the auction for the inaugural season of the SA20.
Probable XI: Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik, Axar Patel, Harshal Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Arshdeep Singh.
Probable XI: Quinton de Kock, Reeza Hendricks, Aiden Markram/Rilee Rossouw, Temba Bavuma, Heinrich Klaasen/Tristan Stubbs, David Miller, Wayne Parnell, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Keshav Maharaj, Anrich Nortje. (Cricbuzz)