After achieving a momentous ODI series triumph in South Africa, the Indian cricket team is poised for a two-match Test series against the hosts, starting with a Boxing Day Test in Centurion. The pursuit of team India’s first-ever Test series victory in South Africa kicks off on December 26 at SuperSport Park, followed by IND vs SA 2nd Test at Newlands commencing on January 3. Under the leadership of Rohit Sharma, India is determined to make history and consolidate their standing as the leading team in the World Test Championship 2023-25 Points table.
Even with a nearly complete lineup, India will be without Mohammed Shami and Ishan Kishan for the upcoming IND vs SA Tests. The comeback of senior players Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Jasprit Bumrah strengthens the team significantly, with several other players also making a return, forming a potent squad for the Test format. Mohammed Shami’s absence due to injury and Ishan Kishan’s withdrawal for personal reasons have resulted in the inclusion of KS Bharat as the second wicketkeeper in India’s Test squad.
In the opening Test, captain Rohit Sharma will partner with the young Yashasvi Jaiswal at the top. Shubman Gill is likely to step in at No. 3 in the absence of Cheteshwar Pujara, while Kohli would resume his position at No. 4, and Shreyas Iyer eyes the No. 5 spot.
With Kishan out, KL Rahul is set to take on the role of wicketkeeper-batsman, favoured over KS Bharat. Rahul, who previously opened for India, is anticipated to bat at No. 6.
In a Test venue known to favour pacers, Ravindra Jadeja is expected to feature, but the inclusion of top-ranked Test bowler Ravichandran Ashwin is doubtful for IND vs SA 1st Test. Shardul Thakur is likely to take Ashwin’s place. Leading the pace attack will be Jasprit Bumrah, supported by Mohammed Siraj as the second new ball bowler for the team captained by Rohit Sharma.
India’s probable playing XI for the first Test against South Africa: Rohit Sharma (C), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, and Mukesh Kumar.