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India Tweaks Squads for South Africa Tour: Shami To Miss Tests, Chahar To Miss ODIs
By CricShots - Dec 16, 2023 11:19 am
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India’s preparations for the upcoming tour of South Africa faced a double blow on Saturday, with fast bowler Mohammed Shami ruled out of the Test series due to fitness concerns and medium pacer Deepak Chahar withdrawing from the ODI squad due to a family emergency. Shami, initially included in the Test squad provisionally, failed to regain fitness in time, prompting the BCCI to make a late change.

mohammed shami
Mohammed Shami 

Mohammed Shami’s absence deals a significant blow to India’s bowling attack, depriving them of their experienced spearhead for the crucial two-match series. In the ODI squad, Chahar’s sudden unavailability due to a family emergency necessitated a reshuffle. Akash Deep, already in South Africa with the India A team, was swiftly drafted in as his replacement. This move adds another young gun to the mix, providing the selectors with options to test and groom new talent.

However, the changes don’t end there. Shreyas Iyer, initially named in both the ODI and Test squads, will now only feature in the opening ODI on December 17 before joining the Test squad. This decision aims to give him ample preparation for the red-ball series, ensuring his focus is solely on the longer format.

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The updated ODI squad sees Ruturaj Gaikwad, Sai Sudharsan, Tilak Varma, Rajat Patidar, and Rinku Singh bolstering the batting order. The experienced duo of KL Rahul and Sanju Samson will handle wicketkeeping duties, while Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, and Yuzvendra Chahal provide a formidable spin attack. Avesh Khan, Arshdeep Singh, and Akash Deep spearhead the pace bowling unit alongside Mukesh Kumar.

 

Another significant development involves the coaching staff. Head coach Rahul Dravid, batting coach Vikram Rathour, bowling coach Paras Mhambrey, and fielding coach T. Dilip will prioritize the Test series, joining the squad and overseeing their preparations for the inter-squad match and the main event. In their absence, India A’s coaching staff, comprising batting coach Sitanshu Kotak, bowling coach Rajib Datta, and fielding coach Ajay Ratra, will guide the ODI team.

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This revised strategy highlights the importance India places on the Test series. Shami’s absence, while unfortunate, opens doors for other bowlers to prove their mettle. The revamped ODI squad offers opportunities to test young talent, while Iyer’s focused approach towards the Test series demonstrates India’s determination to conquer the final frontier of red-ball dominance.

With the inter-squad match set for December 20-22, followed by the Boxing Day Test on December 26, the stage is set for a thrilling showdown between India and South Africa. The revised squads, while reflecting unforeseen circumstances, still hold immense potential, promising a captivating contest across formats.