Jolted India aim to return on winning track against Proteas on home turf

Last Modified Wednesday, 11 March 2020 (18:36 IST)
Dharamsala: After suffering a clean sweep against Kiwis, will look to return to winning ways as they lock horns with in the first ODI of the three-match series at the HPCA Stadium, here on Thursday.
India and South Africa have had contrasting fortunes in their most recent ODI series. While South Africa swept Australia aside in the three-match ODI series at home, India were beaten by the same margin in their three ODIs in New Zealand.
The hosts India will continue to miss the services of their vice-captain Rohit Sharma, who remains on the sidelines with a calf injury, which he picked up during the T20I series in New Zealand. 
Rohit's absence means, there will be an additional responsibility of captain Virat Kohli, who went through a rare lean patch in New Zealand. 
While KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer have solidified their place in the XI with their remarkable consistency, the series presents another opportunity for Rishabh Pant and Manish Pandey to keep themselves in the mix.
Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill will fight it out to join Shikhar Dhawan at the top of the order. Dhawan is also making a comeback into the side after missing the entire New Zealand tour due to injury. 
Hardik Pandya's return lends stability in the Indian team. He last played an ODI against New Zealand in the World Cup semi-final in Manchester and his last international game was a T20 against the Proteas in Bengaluru in September last year.
Pandya has made a comeback into the team after his his all-round performances at the DY Patil Corporate Cup, where he looked completely fit. Meanwhile, the fast bowling duties will be led by Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who makes a comeback after nearly three months.
Bhuvi's return will give India good depth during the slog overs while Mohammed Shami has been rested for the series after getting a blow on his shoulder in the second Test in New Zealand.
Ravindra Jadeja is expected to be the only spinning option on a seamer-friendly Dharamsala track unless team management decides to include Kuldeep Yadav in the team.

On the other hand, South Africa are coming into the tour after whitewashing Australia in the three-ODI series which would have given them a lot more confidence. 
Proteas  would be immensely pleased with the contributions of Janneman Malan, Heinrich Klaasen and Jon Jon Smuts in the home triumph against Australia. However, they will also want the experienced duo of skipper Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis to perform well. 
Kagiso Rabada's absence means that the visitors look thin on experience in the bowling department, but the impressive returns of Lungi Ngidi and Anrich Nortje against Australia will instil confidence in the visiting side.(UNI)