Rohit Sharma back as leader as we look at the confirmed India vs South Africa 2023 Test series Playing 11.
July 2023 it was when India last played a Test series against West Indies. But after a gap of almost 5 months, the India white team will be back to playing the longest format of the game, Test Cricket. The Test matches, which are a part of the WTC 2023-25 cycle will see Team India playing a 2-match Away Test series vs South Africa starting December 26, 2023.
We still have around a month to go for the Test series, but the squad for the has already been announced officially. As compared to the squad that played the last Test series vs West Indies, there are a lot of changes. While the overall squad strength remains the same at 16, the ones missing from the current squad are KS Bharat, Ajinkya Rahane, Axar Patel, Navdeep Saini, and Jaydev Unadkat.
In their place, Team India have added Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, and Prasidh Krishna. Given the conditions, the omission of Axar Patel makes sense. Also, with Bumrah and Shami returning, the only bowlers who could pave the way were Navdeep Saini and Jaydev Unadkat. But the two big calls made by Team India were bringing KL Rahul as the keeper in place of KS Bharat, and dropping Ajinkya Rahane for Shreyas Iyer.
Given that India are without KS Bharat, Ajinkya Rahane, and Jaydav Unadkat, who were a part of the previous playing 11, expect India to make wholesome changes in their playing 11. So, with so many changes in the squad, what’s the playing 11 Team India shall adopt for the 2023 Test series vs South Africa? Well, let’s find out in this article. Before that, let’s look at the official squad for India.
India vs South Africa 2023 – Official Test Series Squad for the Indian Team:
Batters: Rohit Sharma (c), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli & Yashasvi Jaiswal
WKs: Ishan Kishan & KL Rahul
All-rounders: Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin & Shardul Thakur
Bowlers: Jasprit Bumrah (vc), Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Mukesh Kumar & Prasidh Krishna
India vs South Africa 2023 Confirmed Test Series Playing 11:
Top-order: Rohit Sharma, Yashasvi Jaiswal & Shubman Gill
The West Indies series saw a transition of Team India from their regular top-order of Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, and Cheteshwar Pujara to Rohit Sharma, Yashasvi Jaiswal, and Shubman Gill. While Rohit Sharma and Yashasvi Jaiswal played as openers with Yashasvi making his debut, Shubman Gill took Pujara’s place, and played at the number 3 position. So, we should expect the same top-order for the South Africa Test series.
Middle-order: Virat Kohli & Shreyas Iyer
Coming to the middle-order, Virat Kohli, who is only playing the Red-ball series currently will be back to donning the number 4 position. However, for the number 5 position, India will have to bring in Shreyas Iyer instead of Ajinkya Rahane, who has been dropped. While this seems to be the best move, don’t be surprised if KL Rahul plays at 5 with Ishan Kishan as the wicket-keeper.
Wicket-keeper: KL Rahul
The selection of the wicket-keeper shall be an interesting one. With Rishabh Pant yet to recover, whoever plays currently is mostly a make-shift keeper. While Kishan donned the wicket-keeping duties in West Indies, the return of KL Rahul means Kishan will have to make way for the more experienced player. However, it would be interesting to see how KL Rahul, the wicket-keeper adapts to the conditions.
All-rounders: Ravindra Jadeja & Ravichandran Ashwin
Coming to the lower-order and All-rounders, it will once again be interesting to see if India play 2 spin and 3 pace combination, or drops Ashwin, and play 4 pacers in the squad. Well, in an ideal scenario, Jadeja shouldn’t be considered a spinner at all. He is more of a batter, who can deliver good overs of spin. With Ashwin in the prime form currently, it would be suicidal to drop him. So, expect India to stick with Ashwin; at least for the first Test.
Bowlers: Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah & Mohammed Siraj
Finally, talking about the pacers that Team India shall play, it will be the same pace trio that played the ODI World Cup. Both Shami and Bumrah missed the West Indies Test series. But with South Africa a stronger side, both Shami and Bumrah will make the bowling stronger alongside Mohammed Siraj. In addition to their bowling, Shami and Bumrah shall also play a vital role in adding valuable runs down the order.
India vs South Africa 2023 Confirmed Playing 11 for Test Series:
Rohit Sharma (c), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah & Mohammed Siraj
So, that’s about the playing 11 for India vs South Africa 2023 Test Series. Overall, the discussion for India shall revolve around two pointers – selecting the wicket-keeper and selecting the bowling combination. South Africa are yet to announce their squad for the Test series, and we will update the playing 11 here. But in the meantime, please see the official schedule for the India vs South Africa 2023 Test series.
India vs South Africa 2023 Test Series Schedule:
- 1st Test – Dec 26-30 @ Centurion
- 2nd Test – Jan 3-7 @ Cape Town
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Adesh Kothari is the founder of AK4Tsay1 Cricalytics with over 20 years of experience following Cricket.
Cricket to him is like what Football is to Lionel Messi, Singing is to Lata Mangeshkar, Dancing is to Michael Jackson, and Acting is to Clint Eastwood.
Besides his effervescent love for Cricket, Adesh is an MBA by qualification.