Last Update on: January 3rd, 2018 at 08:47 pm

South Africa Vs India: As India’s South Africa tour is considered more sort of a test of the mettle, Team India is mentally prepared and physically up and running – to face dynamic hosts in the form of South Africa, in the first assignment of the year 2018.

To be precise, Virat Kohli-led formidable side will wrestle in the first of the three-Test match series at the Newlands Stadium in Cape Town on January 5 (Friday) after opting for gruelling practice sessions in nets to keep hinging on what they want to achieve and the most important things in their minds would be to shred the tag of poor performers in the overseas conditions.

As India has registered just two wins in 17 Test fixtures against the Proteas team so far since 1992, Kohli is confident to turn the tables this time around which is equally justified with the way teams have been doing well in the traditional format in particular.

The members of the team have already been in a positive mode for the eagerly-awaited series which has a lot on offer between the two competitive units.

South Africa Vs India, India Predicted XI, Virat Kohli
Cape Town surface for South Africa Vs India Test on January 5 as the pitch curator Evan Flint has a first-look. Photo Credit: ESPNcricinfo.

On the other side, the Proteas are ready to lock horns at the home conditions with the same passion and rigour visitors have had been relying.

While keeping the overseas demons aside, the visitors would be aiming to bank on their strength and make most while availing the series of senior campaigners.

In the recent past two years, India has risen to the buoyant performances which saw the side topping the charts of the ICC Test rankings without any fuss by knocking down the top-class teams which include Australia, England and New Zealand owing to the familiar conditions.

South Africa Vs India, 2018: Visitors Predicted XI – 1st Test Cape Town
South Africa Vs India: KL Rahul gearing up for the challenge. Photo Credit: Web.

India’s has had already announced the strong squad after having the terrific home record which saw Kohli leading his side with all his pride.

It’s not about the corridor of uncertainty it is more about the best decision in team’s favour to face the biggest challenge while aiming for a delight which already saw the Indian openers shouldering the arms which is expected to be visible in the series opener.

In three Tests, Vijay scored 176 runs at an average of 29.33. He has a solitary fifty to his name and wants to improve his record in South Africa.

Here’s the expected Playing XI for Team India – to field in the first Test at Newlands:

Murali Vijay:

The right-handed batsman Murali Vijay has recently made his Test return against Sri Lanka at home after recovering from the wrist injury.

Known for consolidating the innings, Vijay has been considered as one of the best options when it comes to batting in the overseas condition.

Vijay also tends to score runs at pace, and he can rotate the strike-rate to frustrate the opponents subsequently.

KL Rahul:

The Karnataka-based batsman might have struggled in the limited-overs cricket recently, but his knack of contributing at the top has been a key to success which further saw the right-handed batsman relying on the varied array of shots and his maiden stint to South Africa would test his nerves.

Cheteshwar Pujara:

Could be considered as the man of the crisis, the right-handed batsman Cheteshwar Pujara has on a song for India while being a Test specialist.

The 29-year-old Rajkot-based professional might have featured in five One-day Internationals, but his love for the five-day format has helped him in improving his game owing to his dedication and willpower.

Virat Kohli:

The batting sensation has another tremendous year under his belt as a batsman and then as a leader, who always wore heart on his sleeve.

The 29-year-old batsman Kohli has occasional blips in his career so far, as he never impedes before the quality bowling opposition, but went on to improve his game to break the slew of records to set his name into the sacred books of the gentleman’s game.

Virat Kohli has been the bedrock for Team India in the contemporary cricket which further saw him moulding himself into a true and passionate leader

Ajinkya Rahane:

In two Test fixtures against South Africa, Ajinkya Rahane has averaged 66.69 which further shows he has been the key figure over the years for India when it comes to the overseas schedules.

In four innings, Rahane has registered 209 runs which further saw him registering two fifties on the Proteas soil.

The right-handed batsman Rahane has a lot on his shoulder after miserably failing in the home conditions against Sri Lanka, but the trust shown by the selectors speaks volumes in itself about the supremely gifted cricketer.

Wriddhiman Saha:

Wriddhiman Saha has been working hard on his batting apart from donning the gloves that have been visible with his cameos of late.

Saha, the most daunting role to play in the team while sitting right behind at the stumps for the slow bowlers, before playing the role with the bat and this is how the life of a wicketkeeper is supposed to be all the time.

The capable gloveman Saha has been decent behind the gloves apart from a couple of misses against the Islanders is expected to deliver according to the expectations.

The visitors have also availed the services of Gujarat-based gloveman Parthiv Patel.

Hardik Pandya:

Known for his pyrotechnics with the bat, the seam-bowling all-rounder has a major role to play in the side, and he is equally well versed what the requirements he is bound to work on while being on the national duty are.
Ravichandran Ashwin:

The 31-year-old off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has so far featured in 55 Tests which saw him bagging 304 wickets at an average of 25.44.

In a solitary Test match in South Africa, Ashwin went wicket, but in India, Ashwin has been phenomenal with the ball.

In seven innings, Ashwin claimed 31 wickets at an average of 11.12. He has claimed four five-wicket hauls.
On the other side, left-arm orthodox spinner Ravi Jadeja has been brilliant with the ball and troubled the right-handers.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar:

The wily customer Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been the bowling spearhead in the limited-overs cricket which saw him shining on in the traditional format, as he went on to feature in 19 Tests.

In 33 Test innings, Bhuvneshwar has collected 53 wickets at an average of 27.18.

While banking on his strength, Bhuvneshwar is going to make his maiden entry with the national side in the Test series against Proteas.

The 28-year-old Bhuvneshwar has great control over the ball and ability to swing the ball is expected to come handy on such surfaces which have traditionally helped the bowlers.

Mohammed Shami:

Mohammed Shami has shown remarkable improvement in every game and his ability to move the cherry has a major role to play on the South African soil.

However, the fresh challenge would further test the 27-year-old fast bowler who has been accurate with the cherry.
Shami has also learned from his experience which saw him collecting six wickets in four innings of two Test matches.

Ishant Sharma:

The lanky fast bowler is expected to be preferred over much-improved Umesh Yadav, who is known for his pace.
The 29-year-old Delhi-based pacer has bagged 12 scalps in nine innings of five Tests at an average of 54.16.

Bowling around 140kph, Ishant could bend his back to get plenty of the surfaces in the Rainbow Nation.

Apart from the Proteas tour, Ishant has made 29 appearances in the overseas condition in which he claimed 98 wickets at an average of 36.76.

The 30-year-old Nagpur-based Umesh is expected to get picked for his first Test while considering his ability to ask plenty of the batsmen.

In two Tests against South Africa at home, Umesh has collected five wickets in four innings at an average of 12.

Tahir Ibn Manzoor

Tahir Ibn Manzoor is a staffer at Cricket Addictor, who follows cricket like food and he has a great affection for the long-form journalism. He Tweets @TahirIbnManzoor