CAPE TOWN – The time has arrived! The Proteas take on India in a long-awaited Test series, and the action starts on Friday morning at Newlands.
Cricket writer Zaahier Adams chose five men who you should keep an eye on…
1 AB DE VILLIERS
South Africa’s premier batsman made his return to white-clothing cricket last week. He actually captained the Proteas against Zimbabwe, scored a half-century and also kept wicket. There are few players who can take on such a load after being out of the game for two years.
Having been absolved from two of those duties, De Villiers can now focus on just scoring runs again. It is going to be needed in this massive series.
2 VIRAT KOHLI
There will be an extra thousand people at the ground on Friday morning just to see the Indian captain in the flesh, such is Kohli’s global appeal. He is a master batsman with over 2 000 runs across all formats last year. He is the cog around which the Indian team rotate.
3 VERNON PHILANDER
Faf du Plessis said “stats don’t lie” when he referred to Kohli in his pre-match press conference. He could easily have said the same about his star opening bowler. There is no one better equipped to exploit the Newlands conditions, and early inroads from Philander will go a long way to the Proteas taking the early advantage.
4 RAVICHANDRAN ASHWIN
The off-spinner is virtually unplayable on his home dustbowls. However, Ashwin has been dropped on tours of South Africa and Australia before, which has led to questions surrounding his form away from home.
He is, though, a vital part of India’s armoury, and the tourists will be hoping he finds some sort of form on foreign pitches.
5 QUINTON DE KOCK
South Africa’s wicket-keeper endured a quiet RamSlam T20 Challenge and looked out of sorts in the pink-ball Test in Port Elizabeth last week before straining his hamstring.
He has recovered, though, to face a team he enjoys feasting upon, and the Proteas will look to De Kock for some inspiration lower down the batting order.