Call it his charm, luck-factor or emergence of an Indian outfit as a cohesive unit; Mahendra Singh Dhoni has transformed the Indian XI into a world-beating group. Dhoni has backed his instincts and currently the youngsters – the core of the side – hitherto ‘talented’ yet ‘underperforming’ breed that has the propensity to win matches on their own.
Rohit Sharma has embraced consistency, Dhawan is thriving on his attacking game and Ravindra Jadeja has emerged as a premier all-rounder. It is under Dhoni’s leadership that these cricketers have recorded spectacular performances and promised a lot in the coming days The South African series is one such pit-stop that is going to test the mettle of Team India. This is India’s unconquered territory. India have lost every series played against South Africa in South Africa since 1992.
The conditions: more bounce compared to India and the movement in the air will test the batsmen. The South African bowling attack comprises the world-class Dale Steyn, the effective Morne Morkel and Vernon Philnder (who bowls incessant line around the off-stump). The trio would want to score brownie points against the batting ahead of the two-Test matches.
Virat Kohli will be expected to take the mantle of scoring a lot of runs. He has been in good form and will look to carry on the South African tour. Yuvraj and Raina have not been in best of forms, but both of them are seasoned campaigners and know a thing or two about winning matches for India The seam bowling department has to quickly adapt themselves to the conditions. Mohammed Shami bowls at a decent pace and also has the ability to hurry the batsman. He is quicker than the batsman thinks. Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s forte is swing early on with the new ball.
The spin bowling department comprises Ashwin and Jadeja. Both of them have been in good form and it will be interesting to see at what pace and what line the duo employs in pace-friendly conditions Pakistan beat South Africa in the recently-concluded ODI series. So India will be slyly confident about their prospects of registering their maiden ODI series win in South Africa. In Dhoni India have an astute tactician who backs his players and gets the best out of them. If India conquer South Africa in South Africa that will be yet another feather in Dhoni’s illustrious cap.