India vs South Africa: Hardik Pandya, Anrich Nortje and other key players with a point to prove

Ashish Peter 12/09/2019
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Hardik Pandya will be looking to return with a bang.

Fresh from a resoundingly successful tour of the West Indies, India now return to home comforts as they get ready to host South Africa in a three-match T20 series beginning on Sunday.

The three-match series will be a chance for both sides to kick-start their preparations for the 2020 T20 World Cup in Australia.

For the visitors, it is their first international assignment since their dismal 2019 World Cup campaign in England and they will be looking to make a big statement under stand-in skipper Quinton de Kock.

Here, we look at three key players from both sides who will have a point to prove in the upcoming series.

SOUTH AFRICA

Rassie van der Dussen

Van der Dussen has taken no time to find his feet in international cricket.

Van der Dussen has taken no time to find his feet in international cricket.

The 30-year-old batsman is a late entrant to international cricket with his debut for the Proteas coming only as recently as October 2018. However, the right-hander has taken no time to make a mark for his country with his game tailor-made for limited-overs cricket.

With averages of nearly 78 and 37 respectively in ODI and T20 cricket, the Proteas batsman is as consistent and he will be looking to swell his run-tally in the batting-friendly conditions of India.

Anrich Nortje

South Africa pacer Anrich Nortje.

South Africa pacer Anrich Nortje.

The 25-year-old pacer was expected to play a big role for South Africa in the 2019 World Cup before an unfortunate injury ruled him out of the tournament.

Like Van Der Dussen, Nortje is a relative newcomer to international cricket as well, having only made his debut for South Africa in March this year. The right-armed fast bowler was highly impressive in his four appearances for the Proteas so far where he has picked up twice as many wickets.

He will be itching to prove his mettle again on the international stage after missing out on the World Cup.

David Miller

Miller can be a destructive batsman in the T20 format.

Miller can be a destructive batsman in the T20 format.

The Pietermaritzburg left-hander has been around the international circuit for some time now but he has failed to justify that huge promise he showed when he first burst on to the stage.

However, he still remains a very dangerous batsman in the T20 format with his vast experience of playing in multiple franchise leagues around the globe.

His international T20 record for South Africa is decent as well with a career strike-rate of over 140 while he has managed to register a 36-ball ton against Bangladesh previously.

INDIA

Hardik Pandya

India all-rounder Hardik Pandya.

India all-rounder Hardik Pandya.

The star India all-rounder is returning after an extended break which saw him rested for the team’s tour of West Indies.

At 25, Pandya is starting to hit his peak years and he looked like the real deal in the 2019 World Cup for India where he picked up 10 wickets while also chipping in 226 runs from lower down the order.

He will be be desperate to get back into the thick of things and continue to build on his promising IPL and World Cup displays.

Rahul Chahar

Chahar (r) is the only wrist-spinner in the T20 squad.

Chahar (r) is the only wrist-spinner in the T20 squad.

The 20-year-old was handed his India debut in the recent T20 series in the West Indies after impressing for Mumbai Indians in the IPL earlier this year.

The young leg-spinner showed a strong level of maturity in his maiden IPL campaign while maintaining a stellar economy-rate of just 6.77.

With Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav not picked for the series, it is a chance for young Chahar to stake his claim for the 2020 T20 World Cup squad.

Khaleel Ahmed

India need Khaleel's left-arm pace variation.

India need Khaleel’s left-arm pace variation.

The 21-year-old has already made 11 ODI and T20 appearances for India since making his debut in the Asia Cup last year. The Tonk youngster brings something different to the table for India’s pace attack with his left-armed seamers and has been getting progressively better since his erratic debut in 2018.

Khaleel looked good in India’s recent tour of the West Indies and the team management will be keen to persist with him in the run up to the T20 World Cup. He has the ability to bring the ball back sharply into the right-handers and will be looking to exploit that skill of the Proteas batting unit.

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Shubman Gill handed maiden India Test call up for South Africa series

Sudhir Gupta 12/09/2019
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A first Test call up for young Shubman Gill.

India have handed a maiden Test call-up to young batsman Shubman Gill for the upcoming three-match Test series at home against South Africa.

The 20-year-old batsman has been roped in as an opener for the series with KL Rahul dropped from the Test outfit after his unconvincing displays in the tour of West Indies.

Gill was the man-of-the-series when India won the U19 World Cup in New Zealand last year and he has made a stellar start to his first-class senior career as well for Punjab.

The right-handed batsman has been in excellent form of late for India A in their recent shadow tour of the West Indies as well the clashes against South Africa A at home.

In 14 first-class matches for Punjab so far, young Gill has managed to 1,443 runs at an average of over 72 with the help of four tons and eight half-centuries.

He is the only change to the India Test squad which completed a 2-0 series clean sweep in the tour of the Caribbean. Gill could be now set to partner Mayank Agarwal at the top of the batting order although he faces direct competition from Rohit Sharma who has retained his place in the Test squad.

Chief selectors MSK Prasad stated that India will seriously consider Rohit as an opener in home conditions and it will be interesting to see who gets the starting berth ultimately between the senior and junior batsmen.

“Yes, we are definitely looking at him (as opener), and we want to give him an opportunity,” Prasad said while announcing the Test squad.

“He himself is keen, and all of us in the selection committee are keen. We want to push him, and give him some opportunities up the order, and see where he stands, and then we will take a call.”

India have opted against bringing back all-rounder Hardik Pandya to the Test fold just yet after he was rested for the tour of West Indies. The 25-year-old had earlier been picked for the T20 series against South Africa which begins on Sunday.

The first Test between India and South Africa is due to get underway at Visakhapatnam on October 2.

India 15-man squad

Virat Kohli (c), Mayank Agarwal, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vc), Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk),Wriddhiman Saha (wk), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Shubman Gill.

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Ashes fifth Test LIVE: Final battle between the two arch-rivals commences at the Oval

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England and Australia lock horns in the final Test.

Hosts England are looking to level the series and restore some pride as they lock horns with arch-rivals Australia in the fifth and final Ashes Test at the Oval.

The visitors have already retained the urn after taking an unassailable 2-1 lead in the series with a 185-run win at Manchester. They are now looking to claim their first Ashes series win on English soil since 2001.

England, on the other hand, will be desperate to bounce back while also eyeing the vital 24 World Test Championship points on offer. The hosts have made two changes to their playing XI with Sam Curran and Chris Woakes coming in for Jason Roy and Craig Overton respectively.

Will the Aussies complete an outright Ashes win in England or will Joe Root’s men have the last laugh in the five-match series? Find out by following the ball-by-ball updates from the Oval below.

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