Durban: South African coach Mickey Arthur has confirmed a report in The Telegraph that AB De Villiers was set to open in the second Test, at Kingsmead from Tuesday. The out-of-form Herschelle Gibbs has, indeed, been demoted.
“He’s struggling for a place in the XI and, so, is happy batting at any position,” Arthur quipped on Monday. The coach added that while India’s rout in the last Test here (1996-97) had been spoken about, his team “lived in the present.”
With the Team India thinktank looking ahead conservatively, it appears Vikram Rajvir Singh will keep his place. Dale Steyn isn’t fully fit, so Morne Morkel is favoured to take his berth.
The Indians, of course, are 1-0 up.
Incidentally, it’s to be seen if high tide does become a factor.
INDIA (likely): Wasim Jaffer, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, V.V.S. Laxman, Sourav Ganguly, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Anil Kumble, Zaheer Khan, Sreesanth, Vikram Rajvir Singh.
SOUTH AFRICA (likely): Graeme Smith, AB De Villiers, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, Ashwell Prince, Herschelle Gibbs, Mark Boucher, Shaun Pollock, Andre Nel, Makhaya Ntini, Morne Morkel.
Umpires: Mark Benson, Asad Rauf. TV: Ian Howell.
Match Referee: Roshan Mahanama.
Match starts: 1.30 pm IST. Telecast on Star Sports.
Footnote: Captain Rahul Dravid’s stock is very high. While he was heading for breakfast at the Southern Sun Elangeni, he was ‘intercepted’ by the Johannesburg-based Natie King, who wanted to meet “Mr Gentleman of world cricket.” King, who is on vacation, introduced wife Carol, too, to Dravid.