India is touring South Africa at end of December this year. This is my 17 man squad.
In batting order for playing XI: (S Dhawan, M Vijay, Pujara, Sachin, V Kohli, Dhoni, Jadeja, Ashwin, Bhuvesh Ishant, Pandey). Rest of the squad comprises of P Ojha, V Sehwag, S Raina D Karthik(sub keeper) U Yadav.
I based Sehwag’s selection in the squad and not in the XI on two points
1- Highly experienced cricketer. His astute knowledge can be very handy to the squad.
2- As a player, he wont be in my starting XI, but if any batsmen (Tendulkar in particular) perform poorly, or get hurt he could be used as an middle order & handy off spinner. As an opener Sehwag he would have problem facing fast swing bowlers.
Playing in South Africa is never easy,especially for sub continent teams, and to get a decent total, teams need their openers to give them a solid foundation.
Currently India’s new opening pair of S Dhawan/M Vijay have done extremely well at home, and their recent performance on India A tour to S A was exceptional in shorter format(47, 140,79,91, & 20). The first class games didn’t yield same performance by their openers(stand of 28,9, & 0).
In past, teams always had problem getting a solid start in South Africa. Recent record suggests that there are few(for all wkts) hundred partnerships in South Africa.
In case the current Indian opening pair fails to give them a solid start, than No.3 batter C Pujara should fill-in as an opener. This might be exact reason why Pujara opened in the final game of India A tour to South Africa last month.
Here is list of 100+ partnerships in South Africa by visiting teams from 2010-2013 period.
My bowling squad is based on accuracy more than pace. In recent past (3/4years)the South African top order have scored heavily, and they are not troubled by speed – but it’s the accuracy of line/length that has bothered them at the beginning of their innings.
The top 4 African batsmen have a tendency to shuffle at start of their inning, and surprisingly only 4 times they were L B W (inside 10 runs) & 5 times BOWLED (inside 10 runs) from last 15 Test matches(189 wkts), suggesting how in- accurate visiting fast bowlers have bowled in South Africa!.
Therefore this Indian bowling unit has an “accuracy” look to it…also history shows that Indian fast bowlers were always successful with seam and swing, but never with speed!.
As far as experience is concerned, this fast bowling unit has less of it. (apart from Ishant Sharma), but one feels both Bhuvnesh & I Pandey will be able to bowl long accurate spells, & will have low Eco. Rate.
And if Zaheer is match fit, than he should be included without any doubt, but if not, than there is no point in picking another left arm pace bowler for variation sake.
The entire lineup also has a batting look to it, apart from Pandey and Ishant rest of the players in the squad can score some runs.
Will be regularly updating.
Here is a link to meaning of all ndicators/formula – http://allthatcricket.com/?p=1489