Thursday, December 2, 2010


The first South Africa - India Test match starts in just a couple of weeks from today at the SuperSport Park, Centurion... and in the lead up to that Test match, it is great to see Gautam Gambhir get a century against New Zealand today. He was the only unticked box remaining in our top and middle order.

Virender Sehwag - He is in roaring form... second highest run scorer in this calender year (2010)... and could be the key for India's series win in the Rainbow Nation. Back to the land where he embarked on his journey in Test cricket, there are high expectations of him this time round. With the pace that the South African attack can generate, his fiery slashes may carry all the way over the third man boundary!

Gautam Gambhir - It was good to see him get some runs against the Kiwis. He did get lucky with a couple of streaky inside edges... but the crucial thing is that he capitalised on the luck. And once he got closer to three figures, he looked as comfortable as he's looked this entire year. Surely the signs are good for the Indian opening partnership...

Rahul Dravid - Though I am not completely confident about his form and indeed his place in the side, but it cannot be denied that he did get 2 centuries in Tests against New Zealand. That is bound to give him some confidence before the South African tour. But if I were MS Dhoni, I would still tell Cheteshwar Pujara to be on standby mode... just in case!

Sachin Tendulkar - Though the New Zealand series was not that productive, it cannot be denied that he is looking in ominous form. He will be facing South Africa in any form of cricket for the first time after the history-making 200* (147) at Gwalior. This time he'll have a chance to make another history... No. 50 is waiting... will it be SuperSport Park, Centurion, where he had smashed the Pakistanis into submission at a World Cup just under 8 years ago?

VVS Laxman - The South Africa tour will be a difficult one. There will be times when that brilliant bowling attack will put the Indian batting unit under immense pressure. And that will be the time when we'll again look towards Lax to bail us out... for he's a crunch-situation specialist. It will be interesting to see the fields that Graeme Smith sets for VVS.

The anticipation is building up for the clash of No. 1 against the No. 2. I know that a lot of neutrals will follow the Ashes more religiously that this one... but I think that this series will be a lot more interesting and the mini-battles a lot more absorbing. Obviously, this feeling may have come (or may have been strengthened) by the 22-wickets-over-5-days draw at The Gabba and the prospect of another such match at Adelaide next.

So I can't wait for December 16th to arrive... it's time to see the best in action!

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