Hosts India have already started their preparations for the ICC event next year with a 3-0 series clean sweep in the West Indies and skipper Virat Kohli feels that the upcoming clashes against the Proteas will be another chance for the team to fine-tune its T20 preparations.
“We have 30 matches left before the World T20 and this is the best opportunity for us to try and check what our best combination is in the next two or three series,” the India skipper stated on the eve of the first T20I.
“We will also understand how much ability, character and composure the new players possess while performing at the international level.
“From that point of view, it is exciting for a captain to try different players and check out combinations. We have all come through that process and I feel happy when I see these new faces emerging, trying to express themselves.”
Some of the new faces that impressed in India’s tour of the West Indies were middle-order batsman Shreyas Iyer, off-spin all-rounder Washington Sundar and pacer Navdeep Saini. Kohli and the Indian team management will want to the youngsters to keep up that promising form as they look to quell South Africa’s challenge on home soil.
For the visitors, it will be their first international assignment since their disastrous World Cup campaign and they come into the series with a majorly rejigged and inexperienced squad led by stand-in skipper Quinton de Kock.
Life without the likes of Hashim Amla, Imran Tahir and JP Duminy starts now for South Africa but Rassie van der Dussen is backing De Kock to extract the maximum from a relatively inexperienced T20 squad.
“We obviously know what he (De Kock) is as a player and how many games he’s won for South Africa, and what he brings to the team in terms of cricketing capability,” Rassie van der Dussen stated.
“I think having the leadership band around his arm is just going to bring more out of him. He really wants to do well in India, always. We as a team really want to walk away with a series win. Everything we do is gearing up to that.”
India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (c), Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Rahul Chahar, Washington Sundar, Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini.
South Africa: Quinton de Kock (c and wk), Reeza Hendricks, Temba Bavuma, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Anrich Nortje, Kagiso Rabada, Junior Dala, Tabraiz Shamsi.
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