Reports: Rohit Sharma and Hardik Pandya to play the first Test; Ajinkya Rahane might miss out
Ahead of the first Test between India and South Africa at the Newlands in Cape Town, there were reports that the Indian team will play with six batsmen and five bowlers. The most surprising part is that Ajinkya Rahane, who has been India's Mr. Reliable away from home, is not expected to feature in the playing XI as the team management is in favour of playing Rohit Sharma as the fifth batsman.
The six bowlers will compromise of four frontline bowlers and all-rounder Hardik Pandya.
Cricket historian Boria Majumdar has confirmed the news on Twitter.
Earlier today, India's batting coach Sanjay Bangar addressed the media and said that the team wasn't too bothered about talks surrounding the wicket and the boys wore a confident look.
When asked about the team composition and whether India would play five bowlers, Bangar said: "Well, more or less that has been the pattern for the last 24 months or so wherein the team management has made the choices about the team composition, and whenever the wicket suits, if it’s a bowling-friendly track then obviously we might go with four bowlers and if the conditions are perceived to be batting-friendly we might opt for five bowlers. So that’s been case right through the last 24 months and I don’t think it will be anything different here. All of them are batting really well. Rohit on the back of his performances across formats, so all of them are in with a chance of playing. It boils down to the team balance and composition and we will take a call on the morning of the match who will get a nod."
It should be noted that Rohit, Rahane and Hardik were seen having a prolonged knock in the net sessions yesterday. However, the team opted not to train today, a day before the match.