The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is set to announce the India squad for the upcoming tour of South Africa today. The tour will begin on December 10 with the three-match T20 International series, followed by three One Day Internationals and two Test matches.
All eyes will be on Rohit Sharma, who has not played a T20 International since India’s semifinal exit in the T20 World Cup in 2022. The Mumbai batsman is currently recovering from a hamstring injury and his fitness will be assessed before the squad selection.
According to reports, Virat Kohli has asked the BCCI to give him a break from white-ball cricket without a timeline. The Indian captain has been playing non-stop cricket since the IPL 2023 and wants to focus on his Test form. If Kohli is rested, Rohit Sharma is likely to lead the team in the T20Is.
Hardik Pandya doubtful for the tour
Another player whose availability is uncertain is Hardik Pandya, who is still nursing his ankle injury. The all-rounder has not bowled in international cricket since the T20 World Cup in 2022 and his batting form has also dipped. He was dropped from the Test squad for the home series against New Zealand and did not feature in the Asia Cup 2023.
The selectors might look for other options to fill the all-rounder’s slot, such as Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Axar Patel or Deepak Chahar. They might also consider giving a chance to some of the young performers from the domestic circuit, such as Venkatesh Iyer, Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan or Arshdeep Singh.
Rahul Dravid to continue as head coach
The BCCI has extended Rahul Dravid’s tenure as the head coach of the Indian team to bring continuity and stability. The former India captain took over the role from Ravi Shastri after the T20 World Cup in 2022 and guided India to a 2-0 Test series win over New Zealand at home.
Dravid will be looking to build a strong team for the next T20 World Cup in 2024, which will be held in India. The T20Is against South Africa will be one of the two series that India will play in the shortest format before the mega event. India will also host Afghanistan for a three-match T20 series in January 2024.
South Africa tour schedule and venues
The South Africa tour will be India’s first overseas assignment after the T20 World Cup in 2022. The tour will start with the T20Is, which will be played in Johannesburg, Centurion and Cape Town. The ODIs will be held in Durban, Port Elizabeth and Paarl. The Test matches will take place in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
The tour will end on January 18, 2024, after which India will return home to play five Tests against England. The Test series will be part of the World Test Championship cycle and will be crucial for both teams to qualify for the final.
Here is the full schedule and venues of the South Africa tour:
|Dec 10, 2023
|Dec 12, 2023
|Dec 14, 2023
|Dec 17, 2023
|Dec 19, 2023
|Dec 22, 2023
|Jan 5-9, 2024
|Jan 13-17, 2024