The Indian team is scheduled to play the first of the four-match Test series against South Africa from November 5 at Mohali. The Indian team under the captaincy of Virat Kohli will be tested against a formidable South African side which have some top quality players like Hashim Amla, AB De Villers, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel. They have to play at the very best to beat the top side in the world. A south African team’s record in away Tests is great as they have not lost a Test series since 2006.
The Indian team beat Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka after 22 years. The challenge against South Africa will be a tough one and India has to overcome a lot of challenges if they have to beat South Africa.
The Indian batting needs to step up if they have to post big scores. Murali Vijay has been in excellent form and would like to continue his good run while Shikhar Dhawan needs to give a good hand for Murali Vijay to give a solid platform. They must figure if Pujara or Rohit Sharma fits in the squad after he scored a brilliant century in the 3rd Test in Sri Lanka followed by Captain Virat Kohli, Rahane who has been in excellent form of late and then Saha the keeper.
2. Initial breakthroughs from fast bowlers
With Ishant Sharma missing in the first Test due to the ban, the pressure falls on Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav or Varun Aaron to pick early wickets to put pressure on the South Africa batting line-up. The main problem for Indian team has been the inability to pick wickets with the new ball. If they can do it then there is a chance that South Africa can be put under immense pressure.
3. Bowling combinations
The Indian team must think about the bowling combinations ahead of the first Test in Mohali. With Ashwin regaining full fitness, he is certain in the team. They must be wondering to play full 5 bowlers or 4 bowlers depending upon the conditions. Ravindra Jadeja will be coming back into the Indian team after successful Ranji Trophy while Amit Mishra has done well in the ODI series. The Indian team must play according to their strengths and play 3 spinners and 2 fast bowlers.
4. Aggressive captaincy from Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli captaincy in the Test series against Sri Lanka was attacking. After the first Test loss against Sri Lanka, the team came back and won the series. This will be Virat Kohli real test to captain against a strong team. He must focus on doing the basics well and bring positive mindsets into the players. His focus should be to play attacking cricket and just not panic when there is a big partnership going. The Spinners are the strength of the Indian team. He must contribute with the bat so that the Indian team can put consistent pressure on the South African team.