You know those great rocket launch scenes where amid several shots of the vehicle all looking epic and the crew looking rock solid, there’s a disembodied voice going “T-minus…”. Just imagine…except instead of the wonders of space exploration, we’re talking about a bunch of people doing all sorts of things to get their hands on a cup that doesn’t even look like a cup…that they’re just a can hold for years. Two tops.
It’s time for the T20 World Cup countdown, baby!
That said, three games, so late, won’t provide much clarity on what to do and what not to do. The good only reinforces what they already know and the bad, well, that gets tossed in the trash because there’s no time for that. So in a way this series could be a bit of a free hit for both India and South Africa. One last chance to go out and have utter, almost no follow-up fun. And it starts in T-minus…
India WWLWL (last five games completed, most recent first)
South Africa WWWWL
With Hardik equipped and Deepak Hooda injured, India will have a job balancing their XI. Shahbaz Ahmed is the all-rounder they have called up, but he only spins bowls and that area is covered with Axar Patel and Yuzvendra Chahal. So maybe the team management will bring back Rishabh Pant and roll the dice with five bowlers. It limits flexibility, but hey, the frontrunners will at least gain even more experience with the pressure situations they will be placed under in the World Cup.
India (probably): 1 Rohit Sharma (capt), 2 KL Rahul, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Suryakumar Yadav, 5 Rishabh Pant, 6 Axar Patel, 7 Dinesh Karthik (wk), 8 Deepak Chahar, 9 Arshdeep Singh, 10 Jasprit Bumrah, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal
What does the return of Temba Bavuma from injury mean for Reeza Hendricks, who has hit four half-centuries in his last five innings as opener? Will he drop back to number 3, which sounds easy enough, except it means no place for Rilee Rossouw and that doesn’t make sense given his exploits in franchise cricket.
South Africa (probably): 1 Quinton de Kock (wk), 2 Temba Bavuma (capt), 3 Rilee Rossouw, 4 Aiden Markram, 5 David Miller, 6 Tristan Stubbs, 7 Andile Phelukwayo/Dwaine Pretorius, 8 Marco Jansen, 9 Kagiso Rabada, 10 Anrich Nortje, 11 Tabraiz Shamsic
The Greenfield stadium in Thiruvananthapuram has hosted just two T20Is so far – and one of them had been hit by the rain and reduced to eight overs. So it’s still a bit of an unknown. According to the weather forecast, there is a chance of showers on Wednesday night.
Captain South Africa Temba Bavuma about what to expect from the conditions in Thiruvananthapuram