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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

SA Series - Clarity for SA while India has a concern

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - JANUARY 07:  (L-R) A... South Africa announced their twelve for the first test match yesterday - leaving out Parnell, Duminy and Botha from the initial squad. The squad looks formidable on paper - just have a look at the team below:

Graeme Smith (capt), AB de Villiers, Jacques Kallis, Ashwell Prince, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Mark Boucher (wk), Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Ryan McLaren, Paul Harris, Hashim Amla, Alviro Petersen

One of Tsotsobe or McLaren will be selected in the playing eleven. All departments look strong and South Africa is eager to put things across the Indian team. Players like AB, Amla, Peterson and Prince have done well against the Indians while Smith and Kallis have done well consistently on the circuit. The bowling, similarly, has Dale Steyn who favors Indian batsmen on bouncy pitches - need one say any more. Harris is the one weak link that the Indians can target for runs but it is doubtful how many overs he will be given to bowl.

India on the other hand, have an injury concern - their main bowler, Zaheer Khan, is not fit at present as per the team physio. The team must be hoping that he recovers soon as the replacements on this tour are greenhorns who have not played any test matches at all. Zaheer had made Greame Smith his bunny during the last series - troubling him repeatedly with the ball coming into the left-hander. Not only that, he plays the role of a mentor for the Indian bowlers - his directions and support to the others will be missed if he fails to play the test match. MS Dhoni, though, put up a brave face during the press conference - appearing calm and talking about the "process" rather than the end result - typical stuff that he stutters in all series.

India's Impact Player - The Impact player from India will be Gautam Gambhir. While all the others have played in South Africa, this will be the first test match Gambhir will play outside the Asian subcontinent, NZ and Zimbabwe - places where the bat traditionally dictates the pace of the match. He averages 64 batting away from home (though one must discount the minnows like Bangladesh/Zimbabwe from this). Against SA at home, he averages a meagre 28 - a figure that he has to improve if the Indian top-order needs to fire.
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