India would be locking horns against South Africa in a three-match One Day International (ODI) series. The first ODI is at March 12 at the picturesque Himachal Pradesh Cricket Stadium, Dharamshala.
While the Men in Blue were blanked 3-0 in the recently concluded ODI series against New Zealand, South Africa will be riding high on confidence after thrashing Australia 3-0 at home. This series would be the last international assignment before the commencement of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
There are certainly key players from both sides who are under tremendous pressure to perform and make a strong statement to the critics. Here's a list of 3 of them
#1 Jasprit Bumrah
After coming back from a spine injury, Jasprit Bumrah has not been at his best. The leader of the Indian pace attack has time and again provided crucial breakthroughs at the start of the innings and has also bowled economically.
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However, since his return back into the team, he has played six matches and picked up just one wicket. He was gingerly and seemed to not bowl at full tilt. The series against the Proteas would be one last chance to fine-tune his skills and be amongst the wickets column.
#2 Virat Kohli
It is indeed a rare occasion that a player like Virat Kohli finds himself on a list like this. The Indian skipper was woefully out of form in the recently concluded New Zealand tour. Out of 10 matches across all the formats, Kohli has managed to score just one half-century.
Barring that one knock, Kohli’s form has been patchy. In the three ODIs, Kohli has managed to score just 75 runs. In the Tests too, Kohli aggregated just 38 runs out of four innings. Kohli is certainly a cricketer who likes to take on challenges and this series provides a perfect opportunity for him to get his mojo back.
#3 Faf du Plessis
It is said that the captain is as good as his team and Faf du Plessis' captaincy record across the last year hasn’t been great. It all began last year when South Africa lost the two-match Test series against Sri Lanka at home.
They had a poor World Cup campaign wherein they won only one out of their first seven group games. Then they were also blanked 3-0 in the Test series against India. Finally, following 1-3 defeat to England at home, du Plessis decided to step down as captain.
Now that the South Africa selection committee is also planning to rope in fresh blood and prepare a solid team for the 2023 ICC World Cup, there is an added pressure on du Plessis to perform. With age not on his side, the ex-skipper needs to bring out his A-game and steer the young South African batting line-up in order to stay competitive in this series.
Published 10 Mar 2020, 17:05 IST