What should have been one of the international cricket highlights of the year, India’s tour to South Africa, continues to barely raise an eyebrow around the world with cricket lovers.
The cause for this lack of interest it would be fair to say, lies completely at the door of BCCI. They did CSA a dis-service by playing political games, that eventually led to a much truncated tour, and have sent their players to take on the best side in the world, totally under prepared for the challenge that awaited them.
While the 2-0 hammering (the third match was abandoned due to the weather) in the ODI’s that South Africa dished out to the visitors, will be quickly forgotten, those matches were India’s only chance to get some much needed match practice in local conditions before the start of the two match Test series.
Such was the nature of the thrashings, that the visitors will not have gained much practice at all.
The hosts have a massive 12-point lead at the top of the ICC rankings, and the South African selectors have decided not to experiment in any way during the two matches to come. They may in part, be looking for some retribution against the BCCI, by handing the Indian Test team, a couple of heavy defeats.
The Proteas have named an unchanged 15 man squad for the Tests against India, from the one that played against Pakistan in the UAE. With nine victories, and just s single defeat from the last 13 Tests that they have played over the past 18 months, the Proteas have a method that clearly works, and a group of players that is clearly comfortable with the game plan that is in place.
Graeme Smith, who was in the one-day squad, but didn’t play in the ODI victories, returns to captain the Test side.
He will have four fast bowlers available to him, in Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander and Rory Kleinveldt, along with two spinners, Robin Peterson and Imran Tahir. Also included in the 15 man squad, is reserve wicket keeper, Thami Tsolekile.