By CricketCountry Staff
Johannesburg: Mar 30, 2012
India take on South Africa in the one-off Twenty20 international at Johannesburg on Friday ahead of the busy schedule of the fifth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
After the battering it was subjected to during the tour of Australia and the Asia Cup, the Indian cricket team would look to make a fresh start before the IPL razzmatazz.
The match is being organised to commemorate 150 years of the settlement of the Indians in South Africa but its scheduling did raise a lot of eyebrows.
The match is happening just after the Asia Cup, of which India was a part, and a few days after the Proteas went to New Zealand for a long tour, involving T20s, ODIs and a Test series.
In a cramped international calendar, the game does seem like an oddity given that the Indians would be travelling all the way for just over four hours slam bang action before getting busy with their respective IPL franchises. Only five days separate the match and the beginning of the fifth edition of the Indian Premier League.
The long journey means that several players will miss initial practice camps with their respective franchises and that would certainly add to the physical strain.
The Indians are not heading into the match in the best of form given the poor form the team has endured in the past few months.
As if the disastrous Australian tour was not enough, India failed to qualify for the recently-concluded Asia Cup final as well, thanks to a shock defeat against hosts Bangladesh.
On the contrary, the Proteas are in good touch as they had an extremely successful tour against New Zealand. They won the Twenty20, one-day and the Test series against the injury-ravaged Kiwis.
The hosts though have retained only eight players from that tour in the Twenty20 squad.
Johan Botha(c), Dane Vilas, Faf du Plessis (wk), Jacques Kallis, Colin Ingram, Richard Levi, Albie Morkel, Justin Ontong, Wayne Parnell, Juan Theron, Farhaan Behardien
Robin Uthappa, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (c&wk), Yusuf Pathan, Irfan Pathan, Ravichandran Ashwin, Pravin Kumar, R Vinay Kumar