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Monday, November 25, 2013

SAF series - Indian teams announced

The Indian team was announced today by the selectors without major surprises.

Let us look at who have been selected

Players picked for both include - Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kolhi, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Ambati Rayudu, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja,

Only for ODI matches - Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Mohit Sharma, Amit Mishra

Only for test matches - Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Wriddhiman Saha, Zaheer Khan, Pragyan Ojha

The ODI matches are starting first which means that the team has got a good feel of the conditions and pitches before the test match starts. Only Murali Vijay and Pujara are the ones who will miss out on match practice before the tests start. Similarly, it will be good for Zaheer to play the next match for his Ranji team before leaving for the tour.

No surprises as far as I am concerned other than the return of Saha who has not done anything of note so far. Dinesh Karthik will feel sad that his good form on the Champions Trophy sojourn was not accounted for. His Ranji form, though, has not been impressive so far. Ojha and Mishra will be passengers on the tour who will enjoy the African safari. Rayudu also might join them with Rahane the first preference to handle the No.6 position.

As expected, Kohli will occupy Sachin's position and maybe Rahane will take his position. Rohit's good form with the tail will make him favorite to occupy the No. 6 batting position. Dhoni and Ashwin round off a good batting lineup while the bowling seems to be reinforced with the return of Zaheer.

After their French training, it was expected that Yuvraj and Zaheer would return to the squad. Zak did well in the domestic tournaments just like Yuvi and hence his experience was sought after. He with Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Shami will be the first preference for the test matches. Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma will be the backup - my preference would be to pick Umesh as a standby, not Ishant.

All in all, this is the first tour post-Tendulkar and it would be a good experience for the team to benefit from. And for all of you, please lower your expectations and have patience with the team !
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