Wednesday, December 15, 2010

India v South Africa:Men who matter

Photo courtesy:AFP

Everyone knows India is ranked 1 in ICC's Test rankings closely followed by South Africa at 2nd position. Most bloggers have stated that Indian batsmen must last throughout the series in order to give them a good chance to conquer this African country. I personally feel, with Jacques Kallis, AB De Villiers and Hashim Amla being in the form of their lives, bowlers will have to right on the money. Taking 20 wickets against these men will be very tough. Not only because they are looking good, but also because often players have the rub of the green going their way when they are at their peak. India's strength is batting and that will need to cover-up if and when the bowlers fail to deliver. Though,the bowling unit should do its job considering most wickets will provide some assistance to them, but it shouldn't be taken for granted since SA's batsmen are on fire.

Lets take a look at players who might make the difference:

1. Zaheer Khan: The spearhead of the Indian attack is expected to come to good on South African tracks where he will move the ball on most pitches and also get some bounce out of them. He will definitely look to target his favourite bunny Graeme Smith. Providing early breakthroughs will be his mission. Right now though, his fitness is a major cause of worry.

2. Dale Steyn: Zaheer's South African counterpart is dangerously good form. He is most definitely the best fast bowler in the world right now as I had stated in an earlier article. If Indians can't work him out, the dream/hope of winning a test series in South Africa will be over quite early.

3. Virender Sehwag: No prizes for guessing. His name just had to be on this list. Sehwag is in delightful form and one can compare his destructive batting to Steyn's destructive bowling. Australia and England who have beaten the proteas in their home land, were successful because of their superb top-order batsmen. Plus,the way Sehwag bats, he can turn the game on its head within a few hours. On the other hand, the consistently moving ball could be his problem.

4. Jacques Kallis: The all rounder of the decade and also arguably the best all rounder ever. Kallis is nearing the end of a glorious career and doing it with class. He is scoring tons for fun and playing role of a good supportive fifth bowler as well. He might not be the classiest as Golandaaz writes here, but he is certainly effective. India will be wary of him.

5. Sachin Tendulkar: The whole country is waiting for his 50th ton and it would become even more special if it comes in a win at Durban(or anywhere else). Sachin Tendulkar is the backbone of India's batting ever since Dravid's form has dipped. With inexperienced batting to follow at 5,6 and 7th position he will certainly be key.

6. Hashim Amla: The form that Amla is in cannot be described in words. He is making batting look easy in ODIs as well as Tests. The former under-19 captain is right now the backbone of the side and their batting almost always relies on him. India need to find a weakness and nail him down. Its easier said than done though.

7. Rahul Dravid: Most people don't expect to see his name on this list, but I feel he could hold the fort and make sure that batsmen can bat around him freely. Like Sachin, he too has an ordinary record in SA and will be looking to improve it. Coming off a well compiled 191, he is confident and experienced. Since he is my favourite, I hope to see some good knocks from him like the 148 & 81 in Johannesburg in '97.

8. Morne Morkel: Bounce is what defeats Indian batsmen in SA. So, with his extra height and pace, the younger Morkel will be more than a handful. He is also in good form and after suffering from injuries earlier, one feels his time has finally come. If he bowls well from one end with Steyn at the other end, the going might get very tough for Indians especially on pitches which assist pacers.

Photo courtesy: WN / Bhaskar Mallick


  1. Rahul Dravid is absolutely the key. India has invariably lost Test matches away from home when he fails to get going. He averages 70+ in India's wins and draws away and something like 22 odd in losses. Goes to show we rarely win test matches outside India when he fails

  2. The anticipation in the build up can almost be touched...

    I really hope that India bat first in the First Test... simply because Dale Steyn + Morne Morkel v Virender Sehwag + Gautam Gambhir is the highlight of this series. And any blockbuster must begin with its best battle to set the tone...

    And I also believe that this battle will define the outcome of the series. The performance of Indian openers can either ensure that our middle order faces a disheartened attack or a pumped up one. It's going to be brilliant... can't wait another 24 hours!

  3. Yep, Dravid and Sachin are absolutely the key. It's highly important that we have a good platform so that Raina and Dhoni aren't the batsmen under pressure.

  4. As much as these are the key players in the series, how wonderful it would be, if some lesser players like Raina or Unadkat make a name for themselves here!

  5. @Shridhar-I guess,with the rain hovering over the stadium the automatic choice will be bowling first. But yes, certainly Sehwag v Steyn is a must watch. Unfortunately for me, won't be able to watch test series.

    @likeatracerbullet-You make a good point. It would be even more special if a young batsmen made his name in SA, but I frankly feel its unlikely with Steyn and Morkel in good form.


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