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India v South Africa

What will India’s T20I squad against South Africa look like without their Test stars?

India squad South Africa T20Is
Aadya Sharma by Aadya Sharma
@Aadya_Wisden 3 minute read

India‘s T20I series against South Africa, on the back of a lengthy IPL 2022, will provide the team a chance to test their resources in the lead up to the 2022 T20 World Cup.

With India’s Test stars set to tour England, reports have indicated that the squad for the T20I home series against South Africa could see the induction of a few new faces, different from what a full-strength troupe would be.

Here’s what the squad could look like:

Openers: Shikhar Dhawan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan

Similar to the Sri Lanka series last year, Shikhar Dhawan is likely to lead the new-look team for the home series. On a personal front, Dhawan has been typically consistent this IPL and is among the top five run-getters so far.

With Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul both likely to miss the series, Ruturaj Gaikwad could get another taste of the blue kit and has the domestic numbers to back it. More recently, he wriggled past a scratchy start to IPL 2022 and currently leads the run charts for Chennai Super Kings. Ishan Kishan, despite an underwhelming IPL tournament so far, is likely to be the first choice keeper in Rishabh Pant’s absence.

Middle-order: Shreyas Iyer, Sanju Samson, Deepak Hooda, Dinesh Karthik

Suryakumar Yadav is expected to be sidelined due to injury, which paves the way for some of the IPL’s other top middle-order performers to get a look-in. Shreyas Iyer is an obvious pick, with Sanju Samson also likely to retain his spot from the Sri Lanka series.

Deepak Hooda, who debuted this year, is likely to retain his T20I spot on the back of a few punchy middle-order performances, and can also chip in with some off-spin. Dinesh Karthik has looked in the form of his life in the ongoing IPL; age is unlikely to be a factor if India are genuinely looking to bolster the finishing department.

Lower middle-order: Hardik Pandya, Venkatesh Iyer, Axar Patel

Hardik Pandya hasn’t played since the T20 World Cup but is set to make his return to T20Is on the back of strong batting performances for the Titans, helped along by the confidence of leading a new side to the top of the table. More importantly, he’s back to bowling at near full-tilt, giving India a resourceful middle-order option. Venkatesh Iyer hasn’t been at his best in the IPL so far, but he was quite impressive down the order in his handful of India appearances and should retain his spot.

With Ravindra Jadeja missing, Axar Patel, his perennial like-for-like back-up, should get a look-in, also adding further support to the lower order while being a handy fielder.

Spinners: Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravi Bishnoi, Kuldeep Yadav

Yuzvendra Chahal has been on a different plane this season, sitting comfortably at the top of the IPL bowling charts. The usual verve is back on display, which could form a potent combination alongside his old partner Kuldeep Yadav, who’s himself been on an impressive route back to form. Adding further teeth to the bowling is the guile of Ravi Bishnoi, who has looked the part at international level in his limited appearances so far.

Seamers: Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh, Umran Malik, Avesh Khan, Harshal Patel

Barring a few off-colour outings, Bhuvneshwar Kumar is largely back to his usual, penetrative self, putting pressure inside the powerplay with the new ball. Avesh Khan and Harshal Patel have both put together impressive performances in the middle overs of the IPL across the last three seasons, and are likely to retain their spots in the T20I squad ahead of the T20 World Cup. Umran Malik has been on fire in the IPL so far, and is the new face that could add something different to the lineup.

Arshdeep Singh could be the missing link India has been looking for the longest time – a nifty left-arm quick who knows how to stall runs at the death. If groomed well, he could complete India’s bowling attack ahead of the World Cup.

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