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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Preview: India V/S South Africa ODI Series 2011

Team India will take on South Africa in ODI series starting today in Durban after great drawn test series and  win in one off PRO-T20 match over South Africa. Confidence of Team India will be sky high after drawn test series and win in T20 match. On the other hand, South Africa is a very strong team, especially in their home conditions and will put all the efforts to win the one-day series.

This series is very important for both the team in terms of preparing for the World Cup. This is last chance for both the teams to check their playing combinations and find out which will give them edge in World Cup. In short, this series is the dress-rehearsal of the World Cup for both  teams. Both the teams also suffering from injury problems to some of their key players and that will also play crucial role in outcome of the series. 

Talking about Team India, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir already returned home just after test series. Later on Praveen Kumar also got injured during T20 match and he also returned home. According to the sources, Sreesanth is also suffering from tennis elbow and doubtful for the series. So Team India is left with only three fast bowlers and will be bolstered to an extent when Ishant Sharma joins them in day or two as a replacement for Praveen Kumar but I feel selectors made a mistake by sending Ishant Sharma back because he was not in good form in test series so it would have been  better on the part of selectors if they had picked up Umesh Yadav instead of Ishant Sharma. Umesh is very good prospect in fast bowling for India as he is very sharp  and have more pace then any other Indian fast bowler. 

When we talk about injury then sometimes these injuries also help us in finding new combinations and provide great chance to the replacement players to do well and cement their place in the team. So its a great opportunity for  Munaf Patel, Ishant Sharma, Rohit Sharma and Murali Vijay to prove themselves and cement their place in World Cup squad. So golden opportunity for these youngsters to prove themselves ahead of World Cup and cement their place for World Cup.

On the other hand South Africa is also struggling with injuries to their key players. Kallis is out for two weeks and probably miss first two ODIs. Captian Smith, Steyn and Morkel are also having little niggles and doubtful for the first ODI. South Africa will give chance to Collin Ingram and David Miller who did well for them in series against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi in absence of big names. They will also field Pakistan born leg-spinner Imran Tahir in this series to check out his skills. So this series will going to be a wonderful opportunity for all these youngsters to prove themselves.

Looking at the Indian squad and South African squad, I believe Proteas have less problems with injury compared to India and in that respect Proteas will start as favourites to win the series. Indian record is also not that great in South Africa as they managed to win only 3 ODIs and on last tour they lost the series 0-4 to the hosts. 

This series will also help Harbajan Singh and Zaheer Khan to complete 250 wickets in ODIs. Currently Harbahjan is 8 short of 250 wickets and Zaheer is 7 short of 250 wickets. 'God of Cricket' Sachin Tendulkar also have the opportunity to complete century of centuries as he is 3 short of this great landmark and also have the opportunity to complete half-century of centuries in ODIs as he is just 4 short of this landmark.

As we all saw in test series history did not matter much and I hope Team India continue its good performance of test series and T20 into ODIs as well and create new history. Its also provides a chance to Team India to become No.1 ranked team in ODIs if they beat South Africa 4-1. Currently Australia is No.1 in ODIs and Team India is No.2. Whichever team win this ODI series, will go into the World Cup with lot of confidence behind them.

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