After a close-fought T20 series, it’s time to move to the red-ball cricket. After last playing a home test in October 2018, the Indian team will look to dominate the young South African side using the familiar conditions to their advantage. Proteas, on the other hand, would want to use this series to come back to their old self after facing some tough failures before. Fans always use fantasy leagues to add an extra bit of flavour to enjoy cricket and this series will be no exception. So, here are the five players who we think you should pick in your side for first India vs South Africa Test match.
#1. Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli picks himself in any fantasy league team. The ever-reliable “run machine” has been the backbone of the Indian batting line-up for a decade now and his craving for runs is just increasing with each passing year. The Indian captain is the most expensive pick in these leagues, but he has earned every penny of it. He is in great form coming into the game and would raring to get some runs ahead of a long home season.
#2. Faf Du Plessis
After getting eliminated in the group stage of the World Cup, the Proteas captain, Faf Du Plessis has a point to prove. South Africa last played a test match in February this year against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka, where they lost both the matches. Unlike Kohli, Du Plessis would have an extra pressure of leading a comparatively inexperienced side.
So, this could force him to take most of the responsibility on himself and it could prove beneficial for him as he is someone who thrives under pressure. It is always safe to bet on experience than young blood.
#3. Ishant Sharma
Since a couple of years, Ishant Sharma has re-packaged himself as the leading fast-bowler in test matches for India. After having great success in countries like South Africa, England, and Australia, his next task would be to lead the Indian bowling attack against South Africa in home soil. Indian pitches have not traditionally helped fast bowlers much, so it will be a difficult task for Sharma, but he is a completely different bowler from 5 years ago.
In the absence of Jasprit Bumrah, Sharma’s responsibility will increase and he would be looking to make the most of it.
#4. Kagiso Rabada
Kagiso Rabada is the best fast bowler from both sides. His speed and accuracy have fast-tracked him in his career towards greatness and he is just getting started. He is currently ranked second in the ICC’s list of ranking the top 10 test bowlers and would be looking to grab the 1st spot. He has been out of form since the World Cup, but he is a completely different beast in red-ball cricket.
In just 37 matches, he has taken 176 wickets at a strike rate of 38.81 and at an average of 21.77. Like Du Plessis, he too would feel an added pressure due to inexperience attack, but looking at what he has done in the cricketing world so far, we cannot count him out.
#5. Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin last represented India in Australia last year in test matches, where the visitors won the test series. He was picked up in the Test squad against West Indies but didn’t get a game there as Ravindra Jadeja was preferred over him there.
The Indian team is back in the home soil now. Ashwin has enjoyed a lot of success in India as the conditions here favours spinners. India would likely play with two front-line spinners along with Hanuma Vihari as the third option. So, Ashwin probably will get a chance along with Jadeja ahead of young Kuldeep Yadav as the hosts would try to counter the South African side with quality spin like they did last time when the Proteas were in here in 2015.