Big Jolt For South Africa Even Before T20I Series vs India Begins As Star Is Ruled Out

The Indian cricket team renews its rivalry with South Africa beginning with a T20I on Sunday. India will play all three formats on the Tour. South Africa, at home, have always been a great force and the Indian cricket team knows it well. This time India will have three captain – Rohit Sharma (Tests), KL Rahul (ODIs) and Suryakumar Yadav (T20Is). The white-ball teams of India bear a fresh look with veterans like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah being rested. Ahead of the T20I series, South Africa got a big shock as star pacer Lungi Ngidi was ruled out of the series.

“Proteas fast bowler Lungi Ngidi has been ruled out of the three-match KFC T20I series against India due to a left lateral ankle sprain. The 27-year-old has been released from the squad and will return to his provincial team where he will undergo his rehabilitation with the Momentum Multiply Titans under the supervision of the Proteas medical team,” Cricket South Africa said in a release.

“Initially he was expected to play in the round of four-day matches from 14 – 17 December in preparation for the two-match Betway Test series but will instead be further assessed by the medical team on his progress. Western Province fast bowler Beuran Hendricks has been named as his replacement.”

With three T20Is, three ODIs, and two Test matches lined up starting from 10th December, 2023, the Indian cricket team faces a multifaceted challenge in adapting to the diverse conditions of South Africa.

Speaking exclusively to Star Sports, former India cricketer Irfan Pathan spoke on what the Indian teams’ mantra should be for the Test series against South Africa, he said: “Look, they have to search for that Mantra, and I think that the Mantra is in the new ball. When you bat and bowl well with the new ball, that is the biggest mantra, that you conquered it, then things will become easier for you.

“Because in South Africa, the toughest thing to do is bat and facing the new ball. I found that last time when we played that and won a test series, when we won against them, the way we bowled in the second and third spell, we were tired as a bowling unit, and our length was a bit short, there was no shine and when we bowled up the pitch to them, I remember the pitch map very well, the balls pitched up were not shining at all, it was just speed.

“So I think the mantra we need to follow is that for the new ball, but even when we have the old ball, our focus and performance should be at the same level. This is where fitness also comes in, if we want to win these two test matches, I agree that these should have actually been three or four test matches, but it can be of advantage to the Indian side because its two test matches, they can go all in and make their bowling reach a level that in the four innings, we have to take all 40 wickets of the opposition.”

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