It’s a clash of the two big titans—the two giants—the top two ranked teams in the world. South Africa and India clash at Nagpur in what is being termed the ‘world championship of cricket’. As we move into the series let’s have a look at which players to look out for and who’re the odds favouring.
AB De Villiers: AB de Villiers did set the world on fire the last time he was here. He played beautifully all round the wicket and was one of the few batsmen on their debut tour to India to perform so well. He announced himself into world cricket with a very timely and aggressive century.
He’s been in pretty good knick in lead up to the series. He’s been getting pretty decent start but how would he love to convert one of ‘em into a century. He is a mainstay in the South African middle order along with Jacques Kallis and the proteas will be heavily reliant on the duo to provide some stability in the middle order. De Villiers is a brilliant fielder and must be kept an eye on—the man pulls out catches from absolute thin air.
Jacques Kallis: He has now turned 34 and with his medium pace is one of the best all rounder’s the game has ever seen. Kallis will be keen after a certain lay off and would love to grind (that’s the sort of character he is, isn’t he?) his way out of India with some runs and wickets under his belt. Now that he has returned to full fitness his bowling will come in handy for South Africa. With his slightly round arm action he should be a handful especially with the old ball where he would be able to reverse swing the ball in these conditions.
Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn: Steyn had a wonderful tour the last time he was here. Both Morkel and Steyn are more than capable of bowling a 150 kmph per hour and a swinging ball at that pace especially with a relatively inexperienced middle order (barring Sachin) against them. The Indian batsmen certainly do have their work cut out.
Morkel earlier mentioned that he would be looking to bowl a quite a few short ones considering the Indian batsmen problems with the bumpers. Steyn said “I’ve said many times before, a 150 or 145 km Yorker is absolutely no different whether you bowl it here in Nagpur, Chennai, Johannesburg, Perth. It’s the skill behind the delivery that is what counts at the end of the day”. The Indians would have to be wary of the duo see of the new ball and take it from there.
Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir: The duo are just over 200 runs short of becoming India’s most successful opening combination (in tests) statistically. Often in the recent past its been the opening pair of Sehwag and Gambhir that has given the middle order batsmen the platform to step upon. Their contribution is invaluable and they seem to complement each other pretty well with Sehwag being the aggressor. It wouldn’t be too surprising if they duo do have a good series (been the trend in the recent past) India should be in good stead to take the series from there.
Sachin Tendulkar: The more said about him the less it is. Sachin with his record has already made us expect from him. He being the senior man in the middle order with Dravid and laxman doubtful. He needs to shoulder the innings. The old man should do well and if he does so India goes with him.
Zaheer khan: He’s the only pace bowler who seems guaranteed of a place. His new ball bowling and more importantly his reverse swing will surely be one to deal with. If India has to win they need to come up with a very good bowling performance and if that has to happen Zaheer khan has to be at his best.
It’s India VS South Africa. Its world number 1 VS world number 2. It the clash of the champions—the world championship of cricket— promises to be an enthralling series.
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