South Africa Odds Of Winning First Test Depend On India’s Selection

By Dhanu Delphi on October 1, 2019

South Africa are huge cricket betting underdogs going into the Freedom Test series against India. The South Africa odds are 6/1 for the first test, which starts on October 2 in Visakhapatnam. Meanwhile, India have odds of 1/2 and a draw has odds of 4/1.

It’s no surprise that India goes into a home test series as the betting favourite as it has always been a tremendous challenge for touring teams to win a test in India. South African cricket has declined in the last 12 months in all formats of the game. This has been due to a combination of poor form, injuries and the retirement of senior players. This has made it difficult for Faf du Plessis and his boys to turn things around.

Despite the South Africa Odds, They’ll Feel Confident

The Proteas know that they are in for tough times during the two-match test series. But they will take confidence from the fact that they drew the 3-match T20 series 1-1, after the first T20 was abandoned.

South Africa also played well during the warm-up game against an Indian Board President’s XI. Aiden Markram looked in good form as he remained unbeaten on 100. Meanwhile, Temba Bavuma was also amongst the runs, getting 87. The South African tail, which has a habit of wagging, did not get much of a bat, except for Vernon Philander. He made 48 of 49 balls. So, it is fair to say that the South African batsmen are not underprepared for the first test.

The bowlers also looked good with Philander picking up two and left arm spinner Keshav Maharaj picking up 3 wickets. Both of them are going to have to be amongst the wickets in the test matches if South Africa are going to have any chance of winning. Their performance in the Board President’s XI game was just what they needed before the first test.

One fact that could definitely increase South Africa’s odds of winning is the Indian team selection for the first test.

Indian Team Selection For First Test

Head coach Ravi Shastri and captain Virat Kohli have made some crazy selection choices in England and in South Africa. However in the latter, that backfired and let the team down. They also experimented with the playing eleven in the recent test series in the West Indies, dropping Ravichandran Ashwin who is the number one spinner in the country.

It is vital for Shastri and Kohli to get the combination correct as there are a number of interesting choices to be made. Rohit Sharma has been drafted into the side. He is expected to open the batting with Mayank Agarwal. However, vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane surprised a few people when he said that he is not sure if Sharma will open the innings.

Sharma got out for a duck during the Board President’s XI game. So, it will be interesting to see if he plays in the middle-order or if he takes the openers slot. The second choice that Kohli and Shastri need to make is whether they play 6 batsmen, a keeper and 4 bowlers or if they play 5 batsmen, a keeper and 5 bowlers.

Jasprit Bumrah is out of the Freedom series due to a stress fracture. This means India will use Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma as their two frontline pacers. If they do play 5 bowlers, it would mean 3 spinners in the side. This means Kuldeep Yadav joining Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. If they play only four bowlers, it will likely mean that Hanuma Vihari gets drafted into the number 6 position. The other interesting choice is whether they give Rishabh Pant another chance. Or, if they bring back the experienced Wriddhiman  Saha instead.

The right selection choices will make it easier for India. However, the wrong choices could increase South Africa’s chances of winning!