India Tour of South Africa 2021/22
The India Tour of South Africa 2021/22 is upon us. Only three visiting cricketing nations have ever won a test series in South Africa.
England, Sri-Lanka, and Australia have all managed to get one over their South African counterparts while on tour. India, the number one-ranked test nation has however never managed this feat. The Proteas no doubt want to keep this record intact as they head towards the start of the incoming Indian tour to South Africa.
Runners-up to New Zealand in the inaugural ICC World Test Championship played this year, India have a point to prove in the test arena. Virat Kohli, on his day one of the best batsmen in the world, skipper’s the Indian squad. Leading from the front is common for Kohli, and one feels that he will need to have a successful tour should India wish to become the fourth nation to win a series in South Africa.
India Tour of South Africa Match Schedule
The Indian Tour to South Africa commences with the first test on the 26th of December. First awarded in 2015, the Freedom trophy is presented to the winner of a test series between India and South Africa. The trophy is dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. Since its inception, India have won two of the three series competed.
This year’s Boxing Day test is taking place at Supersport Park. Traditionally known as Centurion Park, this is the venue where Indian great Sachin Tendulkar scored his 50th test century. The remaining two tests will play out at Wanderers (3rd January) and Newlands (11th January). Initially planned as a three-format tour, the schedule has since changed to include only the test and ODI series. The T20 series will occur at a later stage in 2022. Once the test series has concluded, the three match ODI series begins. All three games will take place in the Western Cape. The first two matches take place at Boland Park in Paarl, while the third and final game’s venue is Newlands.
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The India Tour of South Africa Squads
South African Test Squad
In the South African camp, Dean Elgar leads the team from a captaincy point of view. Test regulars, Kagiso Rabada, Quinton de Kock and Temba Bavuma are all present to add much needed stability to the squad. Lungi Ngidi and Keshav Maharaj support Rabada on the bowling front. In the batting department, Aidan Markram and Rassie van der Dussen will play a crucial role in ensuring success on the scoreboard.
With the most recent test series having taken place as far back as June, the Proteas definitely lack game time in this format of the game. However, the 2-0 triumph against the West Indies will add to the confidence of the test squad. Elgar will want to ensure his side can hit the ground running and shrug off any rustiness as quickly as possible. India is not only the top-ranked test side in world cricket, they also have had a considerable amount of additional game time when it comes to test cricket this year.
Indian Test Squad
The Indian team have just come off a test series win against New Zealand. With the series concluding in December, they come into this tour full of confidence. Batting superstar Virat Kohli leads the team for the tour. By his high standards he has not had the desired test form of late, with his last test hundred coming as far back as November 2019. He is however the seventh-ranked test batsman this year, so he hasn’t been terrible with the bat. He will hope to add to his 27 test hundreds during this tour.
Kohli is supported by Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane in the batting department. Both players have also not had the expected success recently and will be eager to gain some form on this tour. Experienced bowler Ravichandran Ashwin provides the spin component of the Indian bowling department. The pace attack of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma are evenly matched and are relishing the opportunity to take advantage of the fast South African pitches.
Recent history and form
The last series played between the two nations was in 2019. Hosted by India, the home team won the test series comfortably 3-0. The previous India Tour of South Africa was in 2018, and the test series was won 2-1 by the Proteas. However, fortunes changed for the ODI series that followed the tests. India managed to walk away with a 5-1 result. Since 1991 the two countries have played each other 39 times in tests and 84 times in ODIs. The head-to-head results are a close affair. In test matches, South Africa has won 15 times, compared to India’s total of 14. In ODI’s, South Africa has a slight edge with 46 victories to India’s 35. History will count for nothing though, as current form will ultimately dictate how the tour plays out.
India have won the last test and ODI series that they have played in. Beating New Zealand in the recent test series, and Sri Lanka in the ODI format in July. While their T20 World Cup campaign didn’t go particularly well, they will still head into the South African tour as the form team of the two nations. South Africa on the other hand have had some mixed results. Comfortable winners of the test series against the West Indies earlier this year, they however lost their most recent ODI series against Sri Lanka. Although they never made it through to the Semi-Finals of the T20 World Cup, the Proteas won their last four matches and only missed the play-offs due to a lesser net run rate.
Summary and Results Prediction
History favours the home side when it comes to recent tours between South Africa and India. Whether South Africa can maintain this trend remains to be seen. A betting man would say that the form side is India, but to rule out the Proteas in their own back yard would be nothing short of foolish. Can the advantage of hosting the series be enough, or will the tourists continue along their upward trajectory? One thing is for certain, come the 26th of December the gloves will come off and cricket fans will no doubt have some sublime cricket to enjoy.
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