Murali Vijay and KL Rahul will open the batting for India in the first Test against South Africa in Cape Town after Shikhar Dhawan reportedly failed to recover from his ankle injury. Reports have also emerged that Virat Kohli is not happy with Dhawan "not being careful" ahead of the tour.
Dhawan injured his ankle on Tuesday evening during Kohli’s wedding reception in Mumbai and that will result in him missing out on the first Test against South Africa at Newlands. While Dhawan has time until January 10 to recover and stay in contention for the second Test in Johannesburg, ToI reported that Vijay and Rahul will now open the innings against the South African new-ball attack comprising Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada and Dale Steyn.
Although the team management is not that worried about Dhawan missing out of the team, considering Vijay is among the only three cricketers in this team that had played the 2010-11 series in South Africa, skipper Virat Kohli had expressed his disappointment over Dhawan’s carelessness.
Earlier, in a bid to accustom themselves with the pace-friendly conditions of South Africa, India canceled the warm-up game against the CSA President's XI and instead, decided to take Hyderabad’s Mohammed Siraj, Madhya Pradesh’s Avesh Khan, and Kerala’s yorker-specialist Basil Thampi with the team as net pacers. The team management had also specifically made a request to be allowed to practice on the
"When MS Dhoni was the captain, he would keep on making this request and BCCI would carry it forward. But every time, the request would be denied. In fact, India had made the same request to Cricket South Africa in 2013-14 too but they had denied it. This time they have agreed," an unnamed BCCI official told TOI.
The first Test of the series will start on January 5 in Cape Town and India will have a chance to prove that they have it in them to emerge successful in the difficult conditions of South Africa.
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