After a memorable 2017 across all formats, Team India is ready to kick-start 2018 with the stiffest test against South Africa. Both the teams are well-balanced. Team India under the leadership of Virat Kohli has not lost a single bilateral series in 2017.
The hosts are a unit which boasts of international stars like Faf Du Plessis, Hashim Amla, Quinton De Kock, AB De Villiers and newbie Adien Markram, and this tour will certainly not be a walk in the park for the star Indian cricketers.
So what could be the ideal winning team that beats South Africa? One feels India are carrying 5 outright pacers but by the looks of it, only three of them will get a game. If it is a flat track Hardik Pandya could play as the other seamer but on a normal given day, three-specialist-fast-bowler-strategy is what the team management will go for.
So who could be the three seamers?
Among the five bowlers who are going to board the Africa-bound flight, one of them will be making his debut. Jasprit Bumrah, who is a T20I specialist is yet to play in the whites. Ishant Sharma is the most experienced of the lot. He also has overseas experience, which will always help. Apart from the two, Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been in an enviable form. Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav are bowlers who can work up some steam and pace, something that is necessary to pick wickets in Tests.
So, if India has to pick three bowlers for the 1st Test at Newlands, Cape Town. Here are the three bowlers inUth.com feels could get the nod.
Ishant Sharma: The Leader
Yes, with a decade of experience, he should be leading the Indian pace battery in South Africa. He should be the new-ball bowler. He has the experience to put up a tough fight for the South African batsmen. Ishant also brings good overseas experience to the table, he has played 44 Tests abroad and picked up a healthy 152 wickets. Those stats should make him a certainty in Virat Kohli’s scheme of things for the Newlands Test.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar: The Go-To Bowler
That is exactly the role he played recently during the Eden Gardens Test against Sri Lanka. The conditions were South Africa-like, where the ball was helping the seamers. He optimised the conditions and picked up 8 wickets in the Test. Kumar is in a brilliant form and he should be picked on the basis of that. Over the years, Bhuvi has also learnt the art of using the old ball well to extract reverse swing. Even his new addition to his arsenal, the surprise bouncer could work wonders for team India in South Africa. He has featured in 7 overseas matches and took 25 wickets, who can forget his 6-fer in his Lord’s debut.
Jasprit Bumrah: The X-Factor
This pick could raise eyebrows because of course, he is too inexperienced to feature in a star-studded Indian pace battery in an overseas tour. But Jasprit Bumrah has done enough good in the past one year to get the nod ahead of the more experienced Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav. He could be the surprise factor for the visitors. His uncanny action at the time of delivery release is unique and makes him hard to get picked by batsmen. He will bring the uncertainty and newness of the Indian attack. It’s like why not ask the youngster to let himself loose and express himself.
Team India is scheduled to leave for South Africa to play a 3-Test match series. The first Test is scheduled on January 5 in Cape Town.