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Analysis Of The Indian ODI Squad Selected To Tour South Africa In Upcoming Series

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India announced their team on the weekend for the One Day International (ODI) series for their upcoming tour of South Africa. Virat Kohli’s men play a six-match ODI series against the Proteas starting February 1 at the Kingsmead in Durban. The BCCI selected a 17-member squad and there were not many surprises in store given India’s recent achievements. Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja were not selected once again with the focus lying on the young wrist spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav.
Meanwhile, Kedar Jadhav and Shardul Thakur were drafted back into the side in place of Washington Sundar and Siddharth Kaul. As the likes of Umesh Yadav and KL Rahul miss out once again for the 50-over format. India have decided to go for different teams for the three formats at offer and one would hope the current team puts forward a challenging test against the mighty Proteas at their own backyard. India will play a three-match Test series prior to the ODIs.
Here is an analysis of the squad for the ODI series addressing the key aspects.
Strengths: The return of skipper Virat Kohli is a big boost after being rested from the team’s most recent limited-overs series against Sri Lanka. Virat’s form in 2017 was magnificent for the side’s fortunes and his presence at No. 3 will bring the the fear for the Proteas. The opening combination is kept simple meanwhile, with Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma expected to lead the batting atop. Both batsmen enjoyed their time on the field against Sri Lanka and Rohit’s double ton was the highlight in that.
The middle order looks solid too with Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the line-up. Dhoni was promoted in the T20I series versus Lanka and Kohli could be eager to continue Rohit’s decision and send the veteran player at No. 4. With Manish Pandey and Hardik Pandya there too, India will be looking towards the duo to provide the finishing touch.
The pace attack also has the required experience in Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah. The trio will relish the opportunity bowling against some big batsmen in the South African ranks.
Weaknesses: Kedar Jadhav has been out with a hamstring injury since early December and although he looks set to feature in the upcoming domestic T20 matches, he could be a shaky prospect with little time to adjust. The form of Ajinkya Rahane has been a big concern off late and although the team management have brushed it off, all eyes will be on him during the Test series. A lot depends on whether he can build his lost confidence in the longer format.
India have gone with just four full pacers and Shardul just like Jadhav presents the same challenge with injury concern. Thakur was injured in Mumbai’s Ranji Trophy quarter-final and with less experience overseas, his presence puts up a question mark. With no Ashwin and Jadeja, one feels at least one player out of the two could have led the way. Chahal, Axar Patel and Kuldeep are good but they lack experience in difficult conditions for spinners.
Opportunities await for key players: There are some big chances for some of the members to show if they can handle overseas situations well. That’s where the likes of Chahal and Kuldeep comes into play especially after enjoying tremendous success at home. The duo have been the biggest highlights in India’s ODI fortunes at home and although only one out of the two may get a look in, their confidence could still come in handy.
They could go on to show that India can play overseas without Ashwin and Jadeja. Batsman Shreyas Iyer too could be given a look in and his temperament will be tested. He showed teeth against the Lankans in the ODI series and has been retained on basis of that.
Dinesh Karthik too is in the side and has experience of playing overseas earlier. Therefore there will be a big fight for two batting slots in that middle order and it can pump up the players to show who deserves to be picked.
India’s 17-member ODI squad to face South Africa:
Virat Kohli (Capt.), Rohit Sharma (vice-capt.), Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, M.S. Dhoni (wk), Axar Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hardik Pandya, Mohammed Shami, and Shardul Thakur.

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