South Africa tour to India 2019 [Preview]

After a disappointing World Cup campaign, South Africa will be looking to build a new-look team for the future after premier players Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn decided to quit Test cricket.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) made wholesale changes in the team management as Head Coach Ottis Gibson was fired after national side’s worst-ever performance in a World Cup tournament. Enoch Nkwe has been interim team director for the all-important tour of India. He has served as an assistant to Geoff Toyona, who has been a coach for Highveld Lions.

Premier batsman Hashim Amla decided to retire from all forms of the game with immediate effect. With this announcement, the selection committee decided to bring in promising young batsman, Zubayr Hamza, who made his Test debut against Pakistan at The Wanderers in Johannesburg earlier this season.

Theunis de Bruyn has made his comeback in red-ball cricket due to his credible performances for South Africa in Sri Lanka last year. He needs to produce big scores in order to retain his place in the playing XI for a long time.

Three Uncapped players have been included in South Africa’s Test squad for tour to India that starts from 15th September. Pace bowler Anrich Nortje has earned his maiden call-up to the national side.

Bowling all-rounder Senuran Muthusamy is another player who earned his maiden call-up to the Test setup for India tout due to his consistently good performances at the domestic level. He will be looking to make an impression with bat and ball in the upcoming three-match Test series against India in the subcontinent.

Wicket-keeper Rudi Second has been picked as reserve to Quinton de Kock in case any injury occurs during the three-match Test series in India.

In the batting department, the biggest worry will be the form of Dean Elgar, who hasn’t done that well in Test cricket this season. Left-handed opening batsman scored 169 runs in 5 Test matches at an average of 18.77. Elgar will be looking to find form with the bat in the upcoming three-match Test series.

His opening partner, Aiden Markram, has done well for South Africa at the top of the innings. He accumulated 318 runs in 5 matches at an average of 35.33 with three half-centuries to his name.

Zubayr Hamza made his Test debut against Pakistan in the third and final game of the series played at The Wanderers in Johannesburg. The youngster showed signs of promise and talent against the likes of Muhammad Amir, Mohammad Abbas and Shadab Khan.

Captain Faf du Plessis was instrumental in helping South Africa complete a clean sweep over Pakistan in the three-match series. He also played well and scored 200 runs in 2 Test matches played against Sri Lanka earlier this season.

Wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock has shown exceptional form for South Africa in Test cricket this year. He accumulated 473 runs in 5 Test matches at an average of 59.12 with one century and four half-centuries to his name.

De Kock will be keen to make amends for his poor record in red-ball cricket in subcontinent conditions. In five games played on subcontinent pitches, De Kock has scored only 177 runs at an average of 19.66.

In the bowling department, uncapped pacer Anrich Nortje will keen to form deadly pace combination with Lungi Ngidi and Kagiso Rabada for this three-match series. Off-spinner Dane Piedt has made his return to the side and will be second spinner besides Keshav Maharaj.

On other hand, India have been formidable unit in Test cricket in home conditions. Since October 2015, India have won 17 matches out of 23 played during this time. Their only loss has come against Australia in a Test match played in Pune.

The opening pair of Hanuma Vihari and Mayank Agarwal will be looking to continue his good form with the bat. The duo did an excellent job for India during their maiden series in Australia last year.

In the batting department, the side will be relying on the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane to deliver the bulk of the runs. Since August 2018, Cheteshwar Pujara has topped the batting charts for India in Test cricket with 877 runs in 9 Test matches at an average of 62.04 with four centuries to his name.

Indian Skipper Virat Kohli has shown exceptional form with the bat and accumulated 819 runs in 9 Tests in the past 12 months. He has smashed three centuries and three half-centuries during this period.

Opener Mayank Agarwal really delivered the goods for India at the top of the innings against Australia in the Border Gavaskar Trophy 2019 played down under.

In the bowling department, pacer Jaspreet Bumrah and Mohammad Shami have been excellent with the new-ball in the past 12 months. Since August 2018, Bumrah has delivered exceptional numbers with 35 wickets at an average of 20.57.

In the spin department, off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and left-arm orthodox spinner Ravendra Jadeja are a deadly bowling combination for India in home conditions. Kuldeep Yadav could also come in as third spinner for this three-match series.

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