for quality writing

Ken Borland

Scene-setter: Proteas have lost much of their brawn since beating India on previous tour

Posted on January 21, 2022 by Ken

The squads

The Proteas won the series 2-1 the last time India toured South Africa in early 2018, in a hotly-contested series.

But they have lost much of their brawn from that series with the bulk of their attack – Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel – having retired and their powerful middle-order of Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis also no longer playing.

From that 2018 series, only six players are still in the Proteas squad – Elgar, Markram, Maharaj, Rabada, De Kock and Ngidi. And there are fitness doubts over Lungi Ngidi, who has only bowled seven competitive overs since July.

India are missing, due to injury, the combative all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja and Rohit Sharma, one of their leading batsmen in recent years. Rohit is their highest-ranked Test batsman at No.5, but India still have plenty of batting muscle with four others from the top-20: Virat Kohli (6th), Mayank Agarwal (12th), Rishabh Pant (14th) and Cheteshwar Pujara (17th).

Jasprit Bumrah (11th) and Mohammad Shami (18th) will be the pace enforcers with the ball for India, but off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, number two on the rankings, is likely to be a major threat in the third and final Test at Newlands.

The venues

The same three grounds used in 2018 will be hosting the Tests again, but this time in a different order: SuperSport Park hosts the opener from Boxing Day, followed by the New Years Test at the Wanderers and then the series ends in Cape Town from January 11.

Batsmen found it hard to dominate in 2018 with Kohli and Dean Elgar the only batsmen to average over 40.

Hopefully the pitches in use this summer will provide a more even battle between bat and ball. Pitches with more even bounce would also be good because in 2018, the team that won the toss and batted first won all three matches, with terribly inconsistent bounce blighting the fourth innings.

Tactical approaches

South Africa could field a fiery trio of out-and-out fast bowlers in Anrich Nortje, Kagiso Rabada and Duanne Olivier, making liberal use of the sort of short-pitched bowling Indian batsmen are generally not as used to facing and which has proven successful at both Centurion and the Wanderers. Lanky left-armer Marco Jansen also has plenty to offer in terms of pace and bounce.

Not that India’s pacemen are going to be at all generous to a South African batting line-up that has struggled to inspire in the last couple of years. If there is any assistance from the conditions, they will find it with the new ball and they are also very effective practitioners of reverse-swing.

Leave a Reply

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Thought of the Day

    Mark 7:8 – “You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.”

    Our foundation must be absolute surrender, devotion and obedience to God, rising from pure love for him. Jesus Christ must be central in all things and his will must take precedence over the will of people, regardless of how well-meaning they may be.

    Surrender yourself unconditionally to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, then you will be able to identify what is of man with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Then you will be able to serve – in love! – according to God’s will.

↑ Top