Back in the comfort of home conditions, India will look to regain some of their lost confidence during the three-match
ODI series against South Africa beginning in Dharamsala on Thursday.
The return of Shikhar Dhawan, Hardik Pandya and Bhuvneshwar Kumar will strengthen the squad following the drubbing in New Zealand. The conditions though may not be quite to the home team’s liking with low temperatures and threat of rain looming over the opening match.
South Africa, which has seasoned campaigners such as Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis and David Miller in their ranks, have been bolstered by their series win against Australia at home.
Captain De Kock said former captain Du Plessis’ comeback will hold the visitors in good stead. “Obviously, Faf has come back. He plays a big role for us from the leadership point of view.”
Even though it’s a year when the Test Championship and the T20 World Cup have taken precedence over ODIs, India have reputations to mend after New Zealand.
Pacer Bhuvneshwar differed with captain Virat Kohli on the significance of ODIs in a T20 World Cup year. After the 0-3 drubbing in New Zealand, Kohli had said that ODIs hardly have any significance in a calendar year that features a Twenty20 World Cup.
“International matches are important. We just lost a series in New Zealand and you all are aware of the reactions after that. Our aim is to win the series because if we don’t do well, an individual’s confidence also gets affected,” Bhuvi, who’s making a comeback to the team, said.
“It’s difficult to maintain pace when you’re returning from an injury because it plays on the mind that if you strive for pace, the injury might recur. The best option in such a case is to play matches as much as possible,” he said.
Insisting that it is good to have backup bowlers, Bhuvi said healthy competition is always a good sign for any team.
With rain predicted on Thursday, he also hinted that India would prefer to bowl first if they win the toss. “Generally it’s a good batting wicket. The dew also plays a role in the evening. In high altitude grounds, the ball also travels faster,” Bhuvi said.