Does Team India Have The Mental Toughness To Win SA ODI Series?
India was 1-0 up in the three-match test series against South Africa and had a great chance to create history and win an overseas test series in South Africa. However, the Proteas fought hard and won the next two tests to take the series 2-1.
India will now play South Africa in a three-match ODI series, with the first ODI taking place on Jan 19, the second on Jan 21, and the final ODI will take place on Jan 23. The first two games occur at Paarl, while the final ODI will take place at Cape Town.
India’s Mental Toughness Will Be Tested
After losing the test series, the Indian cricket team is not mentally in a great place. Virat Kohli surprised his teammates when he announced that he was stepping down as test captain after losing the series. Kohli and the BCCI have butted heads in the lead up to the South Africa series as they stripped him of the ODI captaincy, and Kohli decided that it was best for him to give up the Test captaincy as well.
Internal politics continue to play a big role behind closed doors, and it is impacting the way India performs on the field. The eleven players who take the field in the first ODI will need to put all of these issues behind them and play with a clear mind. That will be difficult for all, especially Kohli, who is still the best finisher on the ODI side.
If the Indian team struggles mentally, they will fail once again with the bat and perhaps even with the ball. India needs to win the first ODI as it will help them push past the mental fatigue and stress they have been under and give them a better chance of winning the ODI series.
If South Africa wins the first ODI, it will further dampen the spirit of the Indians, and it could very well end up with a 3-0 whitewash for India.
New Captain For ODI Series
Rohit Sharma is the new ODI captain for India, but he is not in the ODI squad due to injury. KL Rahul is the interim captain for this series, and his deputy will be J Bumrah, who will be the vice-captain for India for the first time in his career. This will also be the first time KL Raul captains India when Virat Kohli is on the side.
We need to see how Rahul leads the side in the ODI series. Does he go to Kohli for advice, or does he stand on his own two feet and make decisions without falling back on the ex-captain. These will be critical decisions that eventually decide how India performs in the ODI series.
One good thing for team India is that several younger players are coming into the squad. They were not part of the test series loss, and they will be in a better frame of mind and should be able to lift team India.
Experts Pick India’s Playing XI
India will need to pick the right playing XI for the first ODI, or they will find it difficult to win as South Africa has a strong ODI team. Our experts have put together their playing XI for the first ODI. If the selectors go with this team, India will have a better chance of winning the first ODI.
KL Rahul and S Dhawan to open, followed by S Yadav at three and V Kohli at four. S Iyer should play at 5, R Pant at 6 and S Thakur at 7. The four bowlers should be B Kumar, J Bumrah, Y Chahal and J Yadav.
R Dravid Will Be Under Scanner
While team India will play under a new captain in this ODI series, they are also playing under a new head coach. After losing the test series, Rahul Dravid has not had a great start to his role as head coach. He has a big challenge before him as he has to deal with the team’s internal politics and leadership changes.
His role as head coach is under the scanner as India needs to deliver in the ODI series. Dravid needs to motivate a struggling Indian team and come out with strategies and plans that give India an edge over the Proteas.
Our experts think that India has too many issues to sort out leading into this ODI series, and it is going to trouble them mentally and impact their performance. We would bet on cricket superiority from team South Africa, they will most likely win the series 2-1 but maybe even 3-0 if India loses the first ODI.