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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Pick your team for first Test vs South Africa

Pick your team for first Test vs South Africa

January 04, 2018 08:18 IST

Should India play three fast bowlers and an extra batsman in Rohit Sharma?
Who among the spinners should be picked?
Pick your Indian team for the first Test against South Africa.

IMAGE: Fast bowlers Umesh Yadav, left, and Mohammed Shami. Photograph: BCCI

The last couple of years have been a joyride for the Indian Test team as they enjoyed a run of nine successive Test series wins and climbed to the top of the ICC Test rankings.

But it will turn out to be a completely different world, come January 5.

Virat Kohli faces the first real test of his captaincy when India takes on a full strength South Africa in a three-Test series.

 

India have traditionally struggled against the Proteas with just two victories in 17 Tests in South Africa.

The wickets are generally loaded in favour of the bowlers, and India's batsmen, who generally score runs in plenty in home conditions, have failed to cope with the extra bounce and movement.

India are expected to go into the Capetown Test, which begins on Friday, with three fast bowlers.

While Mohammed Shami is the first pick among the seamers, Ishant Sharma may also get the nod considering his experience of having played in South Africa twice.

The third fast bowler's slot could be an interesting pick between master of swing Bhuvneshwar Kumar, pace ace Umesh Yadav and the uncapped yet exciting Jasprit Bumrah.

The other selection headache could be selecting one among the two spinners -- Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.

Both Ashwin and Jadeja have played just one Test in South Africa, with the off-spinner going wicketless. Jadeja took six wickets when he got the opportunity.

But Jadeja is ill with viral fever though the BCCI says the left-arm spinner is expected to to 'fully recover in the next 48 hours'.

'A decision on his availability for selection for the opening Test against South Africa will be taken on the morning of the match,' the BCCI added.

Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan are expected to open given their recent run with the bat, which means the in-form K L Rahul will once again be benched.

Dhawan struggled with an ankle injury before flying out to South Africa, but the BCCI medical team has given him the go ahead, stating that he is available for selection for the first game.

Given his overseas record, especially in South Africa, Ajinkya Rahane will retain his place despite his poor returns with the bat in the last few months.

Run-machine Rohit Sharma, who scored runs in the last two Tests against Sri Lanka and in the ODI and T20I series against the islanders, could retain his place at No 6 ahead of all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who is yet to prove his mettle with the ball.

Who do you think India should field in the opening Test? Should it be Shami, Ishant and Bhuvneshwar? Or should Bumrah make his Test debut?

Should Ashwin start ahead of Jadeja?

Should Rahul come in for Dhawan?

Please click the boxes below to select your India team for the first Test:

Harish Kotian / Rediff.com