Former India National Cricket Team player Sanjay Manjrekar has stated that the Indian team will surely miss the services of the dynamic wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant in the upcoming Test series against South Africa.
The India tour of South Africa 2023-24 consists of a three-match T20I series, a three-match ODI series, and a two-match Test series. The tour will start with a three-match T20I series that will be played on December 10, 12, and 14 in Durban, Gqeberha, and Johannesburg.
Next, the teams will lock horns in a three-match ODI series that will be played on December 17, 19, and 21 in Johannesburg, Gqeberha, and Paarl. The Men In Blue and the Proteas will then play two Test matches to wrap up the series with the first Test starting on December 26 in Centurion. The second and final Test will be played from January 3 in Cape Town.
Rishabh Pant, who is regarded as one of the best wicketkeeper-batters in the world, especially in red-ball cricket, has been out of action since last December. Pant was involved in a tragic car accident and he sustained multiple injuries. He has started training and is expected to recover in time for the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024.
Overall, Pant has represented India in 33 Test matches and has scored 2271 runs at an average of 43.7 and a strike rate of 73.6.
If India bat well, India win the series – Sanjay Manjrekar
Speaking on Star Sports show ‘Game Plan’, Sanjay Manjrekar said that the comeback of Rohit Sharma to the Test team, who wasn’t in the squad last time in South Africa due to his injury, is a good sign. He added that India will miss Pant in the Test series. Sanjay Manjrekar stated:
“Good to see Rohit Sharma back. The last time India were in South Africa playing Test matches, he wasn’t available. KL Rahul was captaining and got a hundred. Two guys actually got hundreds on that tour – KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant. Pant is going to be a huge miss.”
The cricketer-turned-commentator opined that the Indian batting unit will be tested in the South African conditions in the absence of the veterans Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane, who have been dropped. Manjrekar expects Shubman Gill, Yashasvi Jaiswal, and Shreyas Iyer to rise on the occasion and deliver as he feels that batting well will be key to India’s success.
“I am going to harp on one aspect only. The Indian batting will be tested without the experience of (Cheteshwar) Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane. People like Shubman Gill, Yashasvi Jaiswal and Shreyas Iyer have to rise to the occasion. If India bat well, India win the series,” he added.
India’s squad for Tests: Rohit Sharma (C), Shubman Gill, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan (wk), KL Rahul (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Mohd. Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Mohd. Shami*, Jasprit Bumrah (VC), Prasidh Krishna.