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India vs SA T20s: 5 players to watch out for!

June 07, 2022 11:58 IST

Following a memorable IPL 2022, which saw debutants Gujarat Titans crowned champions in front of a record crowd of 104,859 fans at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, the action now shifts to Team India.

India host South Africa for a five-match Twenty20 International series, which gets underway in Delhi on Thursday, June 9, 2022.

The Indians will aim to create a world record for the most consecutive victories in T20 Internationals in the series opener. Currently, India hold the record jointly with Afghanistan and Romania with 12 successive wins.

Eye-catching performances in the IPL 2022 have been richly rewarded as BCCI named an 18-member squad that will be led by KL Rahul with regulars like captain Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Mohammad Shami and Jasprit Bumrah given a rest.

While the Indian squad looks ravishing, with talent aplenty, here are five Indian players to watch out for in the five-match T20I series.

Hardik Pandya

Hardik Pandya dished out a fitting response to his naysayers when he delivered one of the most influential all-round displays in an IPL final. The Gujarat Titans skipper was surrounded with plenty of flak going into the season with concerns about his fitness, but Pandya booted them out of the park as he steered his side to the title in front of his home crowd.

Hardik wrapped up the season with 487 runs and eight wickets and goes into the T20I series oozing with confidence. There’s no denying that a lot of the spotlight will be on this mean all-rounder.

KL Rahul

KL Rahul’s leadership together with his batting has earned him great plaudits -- all that was on display during Lucknow Super Giants’ campaign in the IPL 2022. Although he would have wished to be on the winning side in the Eliminator against Royal Challengers Bangalore, Rahul has had a stellar season with the bat.

The opening batsman has scored 616 runs at an average of 51.33 and a strike rate of 135.38 and enters international duty beaming with momentum and form.

Dinesh Karthik

A comeback story like no other! Dinesh Karthik did not just knock at the selection doors but slammed it wide open with a scintillating performance in IPL 2022. Karthik, who won the IPL’s ‘Super Striker of the Season’ award with a jaw-dropping strike-rate of 183, lived up to his finisher tag once again.

With 330 runs at an average of 55, Karthik would like to replicate his performances with the Indian jersey and in his own words, 'will want to do something special for his country'.

Umran Malik

Speed has a new name in India! The Sunrisers Hyderabad pace machine from Jammu and Kashmir has caught everyone’s attention with his bowling clocking an access of 150 kmph every match. Until the IPL final, Umran Malik had the award for bowling the fastest delivery of the season at 157 kmph, until Lockie Ferguson snatched it with a 157.3 kmph thunderbolt.

In the 14 IPL matches he has featured in his debut season, Umran has scalped 22 wickets with his best performance of 5/25 -- the best in the history of IPL -- against eventual champions Gujarat Titans. Legends of the game have all backed this gun bowler and it remains to be seen if he continues to beat the speed against South Africa.

Arshdeep Singh

Arshdeep Singh has been another pacer who has been most exciting in the IPL. The 23-year-old has been the go-to bowler for Punjab Kings in the death, his immaculate toe crushers, ability to bowl wide Yorkers, targeting the block hole has reaped great rewards for his side.

Arshdeep finished the season with 10 wickets in 14 matches with his best being 3/37 and an economy rate of 7.70. He will be eager to continue this form in the international arena too.

Photographs: BCCI