Visakhapatnam, September 30: The much-anticipated India vs South Africa series will begin on October 2 (Wednesday) with the first Test here and India are overwhelming favourites in home conditions.
Rohit Sharma is set to open along with Mayank Agarwal. Will there be a place for R Ashwin in the final XI. Check out more about India Probable XI for the first Test against South Africa.
1. Rohit Sharma
Rohit has replaced KL Rahul in the line-up but he got out for a two-ball duck in the warm-up match against SA at Vizianagaram. He would like to push that setback behind and make his return to Test side a roaring success. But that won't be easy against a potent SA attack.
2. Mayank Agarwal
Mayank had a rather ordinary Test series against the West Indies but back in more familiar conditions, the Karnataka man would like to back among runs in the company of a new opening partner - Rohit Sharma.
3. Cheteshwar Pujara
Pujara got starts in the West Indies but did not kick on and made a big score, something he does not misses out often. He would be keen to set that record straight against the Proteas.
4. Virat Kohli
Like Pujara, Kohli too got starts but did not convert them against the Windies. There was even a first-ball duck. The Indian captain though had made two hundreds in the ODIs against the Caribbeans and he would be eager to have couple of them in Tests too.
5. Ajinkya Rahane
Rahane found his mojo with his 10th Test hundred and it was ton after a little over two years. Rahane would not like to travel through the such a big chasm and will be eager to cash in on his good form.
6. Hanuma Vihari
Vihari struck his maiden Test hundred during the tour to West Indies and emerged India's highest run-getter in the series. He will be keen to produce a few more big knocks and add value to the team with his handy off-spin.
7. Rishabh Pant
Pant will perforce need a good outing in the first Test, if his turn indeed comes. Criticisms have already galore that Pant is careless and does not value his wicket and does not respect the circumstances. Experienced hand Wriddhiman Saha is in the squad and Pant will have to ensure that the patience of team management and selectors does not run out.
8. R Ashwin
Ashwin has been India's premier bowler in red ball cricket for a while but right now he seems to have gone down the pecking order. He had missed out the series against West Indies. Will he return to the XI in home conditions? Or will he get sidestepped again, this time in favour of Kuldeep Yadav.
9. Ravindra Jadeja
Jadeja has been going through a good phase as he has claimed a place in all three formats and would like to underline his credentials as an all format player with a good outing against SA.
10. Ishant Sharma
Ishant was in very good form against the Caribbeans and was India's second successful bowler with 12 wickets behind Jasprit Bumrah. With Bumrah is ruled out of the series with an injury, Ishant will have to step up a notch further.
11. Mohammed Shami
Shami too had a good series against the West Indies and at home he will be eager to put the Proteas through the wringer with some fine spells.