Former India cricketer Mohammad Kaif left everybody surprised together with his correct predicted XI for Team India for the opening Test towards South Africa, which obtained underway on Sunday (December 26) in Centurion.
India skipper Virat Kohli received the toss and opted to bat first within the first Test of the three-match sequence towards South Africa on Sunday.
After successful the toss, Kohli mentioned, “Runs on the board taking part in away from dwelling has been our power. The wicket appears to be like good, there’s grass on the pitch. Traditionally, Centurion will get faster because the match goes on.
“We wanted to bat first. Our success away from home started with South Africa series. We won the last Test of the series last time we toured here. We won twice in Australia and once in England. South Africa will be a tough place. We need to be strong with our plans and execution. Lucky to have practiced close to the centre wicket.”
Talking in regards to the composition of the taking part in eleven, Kohli mentioned, “We are playing with Siraj, Shami and Bumrah, all-rounder is Shardul and spinner is Ashwin.”
India Playing XIs: KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wicketkeeper), Ravichandran Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj.
Interestingly, Team India’s taking part in XI turned out to be much like what Kaif predicted in his column for Zee News.
“The dilemma though is what eleven will play in this Test match. For me, KL Rahul is the main man for India. He displayed some classic batting in England where he batted with patience, desire and above all looked relaxed at the crease. I noticed he was playing the ball late which is a key when it is seaming or bouncing. Let’s hope we meet the same Rahul in South Africa too. I am not sure of his opening partner Mayank Agarwal. He’s in good form but could struggle as he plays with high backlift. It will be interesting to see how he adjusts his game to suit the conditions,” Kaif wrote.
“At number three, I will persist with Cheteshwar Pujara. His experience is gold. Pujara will have enough support from coach Rahul Dravid who is no stranger to either number three spot or a lean patch that Pujara is facing. I am sure Dravid will back him to the hilt. Skipper Kohli will turn out at four. He is a champion,” he added.
Kaif additionally mentioned that Team India coach Rahul Dravid will stick with Ajinkya Rahane.
“Another hot topic will be Ajinkya Rahane. If I know Dravid will push for his case to be included in the final eleven but at the end of the day, it all depends on Kohli. If Rahane plays he will be under tremendous pressure given Shreyas Iyer and Hanuma Vihari are breathing down his neck. This is a big tour for Rahane. I am also looking forward to Rishabh Pant’s performance. He is a free-flowing batter who will continue with the same approach. He was not in great form in England but is coming fresh from a break. Pant is a match-winner, someone who can single-handedly change the course of a game.”
“In the bowling department Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and R Ashwin are sure starters. I think Dravid and Kohli will have some hard time to decide on how to play Ishant Sharma. He has tons of experience. On the other end there is Mohammed Siraj who lends variation to bowling. He has some good cutters and can bowl some long and tight spells. I’d also be tilted to play Shardul Thakur if India does go in with five bowlers. With Ashwin he could develop into a second all-rounder for the team,” Kaif said.