| CHALLENGE AHEAD: Amit Mishra and new South Africa captain Graeme Smith (top)
Calcutta, April 12: Adopting a horses-for-courses policy, the Team India thinktank has decided to play two specialist spinners against South Africa (in the TVS Cup) tomorrow.
According to The Telegraph’s sources, then, leggie Amit Mishra will be making his debut. Out of the XI will be quick Avishkar Salvi. No other change has been thought of.
Meanwhile, coach John Wright is expected to reach Dhaka around midnight tonight.
PTI adds from Dhaka: India will try not to get carried away by their rollicking victory over Bangladesh in the opener, knowing well that South Africa will be no pushovers when the two lock horns in another day-night match tomorrow.
A fresh-looking South Africa is determined to make amends for their World Cup disaster, a fact acknowledged by Sourav Ganguly and his young brigade. They can hardly afford to be complacent as the contest promises to be thrilling, unlike the one-sided match yesterday which India won by 199 runs.
“It was a comprehensive victory for us against Bangladesh, but honestly the real test will be against South Africa. It is important that we keep the World Cup momentum going,” Sourav said.
“South Africa have a good young team. Lot of their players have left after playing the World Cup and the new players are all raring to go. It will be a good competition,” Sourav said.
South Africa, on their part, have left behind the bitter memories and are treating this tournament as the launching pad for the new team under young Graeme Smith whose selection as the captain did raise a few eyebrows back home.
Smith, the youngest to captain South Africa, wants his boys to forget the World Cup and start afresh. “The World Cup is over and now we are looking forward. Things have been hectic and we have been working hard on our game since last month. There is no reason why we cannot get back to our winning ways,” Smith said.
Describing the Indians as the “in-form side” in the tri-series, the South African skipper said his new-look team was capable of halting the Indian juggernaut.
“The key is to adapt to the hot and humid conditions. The faster we are, the better for us. We are working hard and it should be an interesting competition.”
The Indians have won ten of their last 12 ODIs and will be keen to maintain their winning streak. Both their defeats came against Australia, first in the league stage and later in the final of the World Cup.
The Indians, without five of their regulars including batting mainstays Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, have brought in a clutch of talented youngsters who have been performing consistently at the domestic level.
The captain himself has a lot of confidence in the youngsters but it is now up to them to prove their worth at the highest level.
Sourav emphasised he was keen to try out all the new players during the tournament and see how they perform. “It is necessary to give these new players an opportunity. We need to have the back-up players and we can only test them by giving them the chance to play.”
South Africa have a number of allrounders which has made the selection of the final eleven a difficult task.
The team warmed up for the tie with a comfortable 127-run victory over a Bangladesh Cricket Board XI in a practice tie yesterday and Smith must have felt happy that most of his top-order batsmen were among the runs.
India: Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Sourav Ganguly, Mohammed Kaif, Yuvraj Singh, Dinesh Mongia, Parthiv Patel, Ajit Agarkar, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Amit Mishra.
South Africa (from): Graeme Smith, Herschelle Gibbs, Jacque Rudolph, Boeta Dippenaar, Neil McKenzie, Mark Boucher, Shaun Pollock, Andrew Hall, Makhaya Ntini, Paul Adams, Robin Peterson, Charles Willoughby, Allan Dawson.
Umpires: Billy Bowden (New Zealand) and Akhter Uddin (Bangladesh).
SA players warned
The South Africans have been warned against violating the Code of Conduct on tour after one of their A team players was arrested and sent home for drunken driving in Australia. The incident involved Andre Nel of the South African A team currently touring Australia.