SWOT analysis of South Africa's Test squad to tour India
South Africa begin their campaign in the World Test Championship with a three-match away Test series against the number one ranked team in Test cricket i.e. India. India, on the other hand, beat West Indies in an away series by a margin of 2-0 in a two-match series and are comfortably placed on top of the table in the World Test Championship with 120 points.
South Africa kick off their Test campaign against India at Visakhapatnam in the three-match Test series which begins from 2nd October, 2019. The remaining two Tests will be played at Pune and Ranchi. It is pertinent to note that South Africa have not played a Test match on any of the grounds which are the venues for the three Tests.
Out of 16 Test matches played in India since 1992, South Africa have won five, lost eight and drawn three. South Africa have a considerable record in India considering that visiting teams have struggled to beat India in home conditions in the last couple of decades. In the six Test series between the two nations in India, India have won three, South Africa have triumphed in one and two series have been draws.
South Africa's squad to face India in the series is a young one with only six players having the experience of playing Test cricket in India.
South Africa's Test squad: Faf du Plessis (Captain), Temba Bavuma (Vice Captain), Quinton de Kock, Dean Elgar, Zubayr Hamza, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Senuran Muthusamy, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Vernon Philander, Dane Piedt, Kagiso Rabada and Heinrich Klaasen.
The biggest strength in the South African Test squad is the presence of the pace trio of Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi. The trio have tasted success against India in South Africa in Tests and will look to replicate their performances in India too.
It will be interesting to see the types of pitches which will be used in the three-match Test series and whether there will be any assistance for pace bowlers. The last time South Africa toured India, the series was dominated by spin bowlers with little success for the pacers.
However, Philander, Rabada and Ngidi are skillful bowlers and will look to rely on their pace, swing and reverse swing to taste success against India.
Philander had a very successful series against India in early 2018 in South Africa and picked up 15 wickets in the four-match Test series at an impressive average of 15.87. Philander, has played a solitary Test in India in which he picked up 3 wickets in the year 2015. All in all, Philander has picked up 28 Test wickets against India in six Tests at an average of 18.82. Philander, has been playing Test cricket for around eight years and will look to spearhead the pace attack following the retirement of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel.
South Africa's premier pace bowler Kagiso Rabada too has tasted success against India. In 6 Tests against India, the pacer has bagged 17 wickets at an average of 24.41. The biggest asset of Rabada is his pace by which he will look to unsettle the Indian openers and will try to expose the middle-order to the new ball. Rabada did not have a good outing in the year 2015 when South Africa toured India and picked up just two wickets in the three- match Test series. The pacer will look to improve his record in India and pick up more wickets.
Ngidi rattled the Indian batting with his pace bowling in the last Test series between the two nations in South Africa. In two Tests, the pacer picked up 9 wickets at an average of 17.22 and was named the Man of the Match in his debut Test at Centurion.
Their contribution will be vital if South Africa have any chance of succeeding in the three match Test series.