A strong home Test record makes India favourites against South Africa in the three-Test series. The first of the games will be played in the picturesque Visakhapatnam from October 2. However, rain has been creating havoc in the city over the last week. That could bring disruptions into play all through the five days.
India come here on the back of a 2-0 win over West Indies in their inaugural series of the ICC World Test Championship. This is the first series of the Championship for South Africa, but they face a tough task. After all, India have lost just one home Test since the start of 2013 season.
The biggest news from the Indian camp is Rohit Sharma’s role as an opener. This will be the first time he dons the role, and there is a lot of speculation over how successful he can be. Aside that, India have some great batting names like Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara.
However, if you are looking for value picks – look at the Indian spin duo of Ravi Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. After all, they picked up 54 of the 70 South African wickets to fall in the previous series here. With the track set to aid spin, Wriddhiman Saha with his expert ‘keeping could be a dark horse fantasy pick.
South Africa Preview
The Proteas will be buoyed by the absence of Jasprit Bumrah, but they have some high-profile names missing themselves. AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn are absent from the squad weakening their charge. In addition, existing names like Dean Elgar and Aiden Markram have struggled against quality spin.
That leaves captain Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock as good picks for your fantasy team. However, it is spinner Keshav Maharaj that looms large as the best pick. The left-arm spinner has been South Africa’s first choice, which means he can add a lot of points.
Fantasy Players to Watch
Ravichandran Ashwin hasn’t played a Test since last December. However, he has an enviable record in home conditions and should be a big threat for the Proteas.
Temba Bavuma had an impressive T20 series, but it is in the Tests that he adds value to South Africa. His technique should fetch him runs even on turners.
Hanuma Vihari had a wonderful start to his Test career averaging close to 45. Interestingly, he’s yet to play a home Test and will surely look to make it a memorable one.
India: 1 Rohit Sharma 2 Mayank Agarwal 3 Cheteshwar Pujara 4 Virat Kohli (C) 5 Ajinkya Rahane 6 Hanuma Vihari 7 Wriddhiman Saha (WK) 8 Ravichandran Ashwin 9 Ravindra Jadeja 10 Ishant Sharma 11 Mohammad Shami
South Africa: 1 Dean Elgar 2 Aiden Markram 3 Theunis de Bruyn 4 Faf du Plessis (C) 5 Temba Bavuma 6 Quinton de Kock (WK) 7 Vernon Philander 8 Keshav Maharaj 9 Dane Piedt 10 Kagiso Rabada 11 Lungi Ngidi
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