India vs South Africa: Will Virat Kohli & Co. change 5 bowler combination? Vice captain KL Rahul responds



  • India’s newly appointed vice-captain KL Rahul has hinted at sticking with the five bowlers combination during the upcoming series against South Africa. The first Test is set to begin on Boxing Day (December 26) at the SuperSport Park in Centurion. Under the captaincy of Virat Kohli, India has persisted with the five-bowlers combination on more occasions than not.
  • In the last three games of the away tour to Australia and the entire series in England earlier this year, India opted for this combination which has proved to be extremely successful. However, with the arrival of new head coach Rahul Dravid and injury to star all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, there are doubts whether Kohli will stick with the combination against the Proteas.
  • In a pre-match press conference, Rahul said, “I think most teams have started playing five bowlers and every team wants to pick up 20 wickets and that’s the only way you can win a Test match. We have used this tactic and it has helped us in away games.”
  • He further stressed on the importance of the five-bowlers combination to assist in managing workload especially with the quality of bowlers present in India’s ranks. “In every Test match that we have played away from India, it has helped us. So, workload also becomes slightly easier to manage that way with five bowlers and when you have that kind of quality, you might as well use them,” said Rahul.
  • If India decides to play with five bowlers, it is likely to confirm both Ravichandran Ashwin and Shardul Thakur’s place in the playing XI who will have increased responsibility to deliver the goods with the bat.
  • Rahul was elevated to the role of vice-captain after Rohit Sharma’s withdrawal from the squad due to a hamstring injury. Rohit was named as Kohli’s deputy for the first time in the longest format of the game ahead of this series. The Indian white-ball skipper had replaced Ajnkya Rahane in the role amid increased scrutiny over his place in the team.



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