India could create history on this tour: JP Duminy

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25 Dec 2021 | 03:41 PM
authorcricket.com staff

India could create history on this tour: JP Duminy

The former South African player shared insights on the upcoming series and the possible combinations for the two sides heading into the opening game

A day before India set foot at the Centurion, Jean-Paul Duminy feels the Indian team has the skill set to succeed in the Rainbow nation and win their first series in South Africa. 

In an exclusive conversation with cricket.com, the former South African player looks forward to a fascinating contest between two formidable pace attacks in world cricket. 

"There is always an opportunity to make an impact in the series and particularly the way India have been playing Test cricket over the last few years; you feel that they stand a good chance."

"The unfortunate thing based upon the current circumstances that we face on the global stage according to the pandemic and its impact on the global game is that South Africa have missed quite a bit of Test cricket throughout 2021. So they are coming in raw in terms of the reference points for Test cricket. Some of the players have had first-class experience over the last couple of weeks, but we all know the pressure and the expectation that comes with an iconic Test series."

"The Freedom series between South Africa and India is going to be a massive one, and the fact that it is starting on Boxing Day brings a little bit of buzz around it. I am certainly looking forward to this one, and the first session is going to be crucial as to how you are going to start the series and Day one is always an exciting one on Boxing Day," he said. 

Despite South Africa missing out on Anrich Nortje and lack of experience in the batting unit, the southpaw believes the home team will enter the series as the favourites. 

"I would still put that favouritism tag with South Africa based upon the conditions. Even though you think about the big blow in Nortje's injury, you think of Rabada and Nortje and the impact they have had together as a partnership in world cricket. We have seen them operate together for Delhi Capitals as well, and with the impact, they have had there, I still feel South Africa have the upper hand. With that, these two bowling attacks and the seam attacks that these two teams have, and there is not a lot of difference between them."

"Even though I feel the favouritism tag is with South Africa, it is going to be a strong match-up between those two bowling attacks. So that is going to be impactful for me, but I still feel South Africa could have the upper hand coming into the series," he added. 

While the two teams have not divulged on the playing XI for the opening Test, Duminy feels South Africa will go in with a lone spinner in Keshav Maharaj along with the three seamers. 

"I think Maharaj has proven that even though it might not be spin-friendly conditions per se, he warrants his selection in that side with his consistency and the ability to hold up an end for the seamers to strike from the other end. 

"I would assume that he would be in that starting XI, and I see Rabada there, and Ngidi would be, I think, back in that playing XI. The selection in the squad would be Duanne Olivier, who has had a formidable start to the first-class season, taking 28 wickets in the first four games, and I potentially see him be in that starting XI."

"Something that has been a critical piece in success for South Africa is finding that all-rounder role. They have shown a lot of confidence in Wiaan Mulder, who hasn't necessarily produced a good score yet, but I think they see something special in him. Three out and out seamers with an all-rounder and spinner seems like the balanced XI for South Africa, so that is kind of what I would foresee."

"In terms of a probable XI for India, I would certainly want to see Thakur and Ashwin in there and then the three-pronged seam attack. You have a vast array of options in the Indian attack, but one will assume that Shami and Bumrah will be definite."

It is whether they will go with Ishant Sharma or Mohammed Siraj as their third seamer. I like the look of Mohammed Siraj; I am excited to see what he can bring in South African conditions; he has got raw pace. Again, you think about Ishant Sharma, who has got the experience and has a little bit of success in South Africa but again, it all depends on what combinations are going to work for Virat Kohli," he said.

With a plethora of young talent coming through the ranks for South Africa, Duminy shared insights on some of the players to watch out for in the upcoming series. 

"I think about players like Keegan Petersen, who has had formidable first-class seasons over the last couple of years and is averaging over 40. So, he will be the one who would certainly want to relish the opportunity."

"I think about Glenton Stuurman, who reminds me of Vernon Philander. He is at the 130-135 pace but has a lot of skill, and if you think of the seamer-friendly conditions, there is an opportunity to potentially think about somebody like that looking for a skill set of Vernon Philander."

"You think about seaming potentials; I think about Marco Jansen. He is a unique character who is only 21 years old and doesn't have a lot of experience necessarily in the first-class arena but had exposure in the IPL. Interestingly, Virat Kohli was impressed with him the last time they were here because he was one of the net bowlers that came through to bowl at the Indian team, and subsequently, you feel that may have had an impact in terms of his selection in the IPL. So, he is an exciting prospect for the future."

"From a batting perspective, keeper batter Kyle Verreynne is somebody that has stood out in the first-class arena across all formats and is head and shoulders above a lot of the top order batters. So, I would assume with the loss of Quinton de Kock in the next two Tests; he would be the stand-in for Quinton de Kock."

"I am excited about Ryan Rickelton, an exciting prospect across all formats and also has leadership qualities. So, there is a vast array of players that are pushing for opportunities in that national side. With the extended squad, there is an opportunity to look at all these various types of players for different formats, which is exciting for South African cricket." he concluded. 

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South Africa vs IndiaIndia tour of South Africa, 2021/22IndiaSouth AfricaVirat KohliMohammed SirajIshant SharmaRavichandran AshwinQuinton de KockAnrich NortjeKagiso Rabada

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