Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Opinion: The trip to India might prove a 'long' tour

Opinion: The trip to India might prove a 'long' tour


The trip to India might prove a 'long' tour

In real terms, the Proteas tour to India is quite short with three T20Is and three Tests taking place over five weeks across September and October.

For the Proteas players visiting India it may come to seem like an eternity.

Nobody would argue that the South African national team are at their best in any of the three formats at the moment.

The T20I series probably offers the Proteas the best chance of a series win. A handful of Proteas players have played a vast amount of T20 cricket in India including skipper Quinton de Kock.

That experience may be helpful, but the Proteas come up against an India side that is vastly superior on paper even without their leading frontline bowlers.

Cricket South Africa made a point of mandating the Proteas white-ball teams to play brave cricket. They will need to be brave in India, facing the likes of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli.

The condensed nature of T20Is means that the Proteas still have a chance to bridge the gulf in class between the two teams with bravery and individual brilliance, but the same cannot be said for the Test series.

Even though the Proteas have been at their best in recent times in cricket's ultimate format, India are the number one ranked Test side for a reason and the series looks like a mismatch.

India pushed the Proteas all the way in their 2018 series in South Africa, it is unlikely that Faf du Plessis' men will run their hosts as close.

Proteas players in the South African A side have struggled in four-day competition in India.

Once again it will be the Proteas batting that will be severely tested given how they flopped in Sri Lanka in 2018.

One man with the power to reduce the Proteas to dust in the Test series is Ravichandran Ashwin. Ashwin is a master at building pressure and working a batsman out.

South Africa may have very good spinners of their own but India's batsmen are far better at handling a turning ball than the Proteas have proven to be.

The Proteas will need to play out of their skins and probably get a little bit lucky to even compete against India on their own patch in Test cricket.

Hashim Amla's retirement spares us having to debate whether or not he should be included and the squad picked indicates that Zubayr Hamza will be tasked with filling his boots.

The big question is where Hamza will bat in this Proteas lineup. In his Test debut he was asked to bat at five but with Amla now gone he may be asked to come in at first drop. Other candidates for Amla's vacant number three slot are skipper Du Plessis, Theunis de Bruyn or vice-captain Temba Bavuma.

This visit to India could be a watershed tour for Bavuma who will make his T20I debut ahead of a Test series where he will be given huge responsibility. A failure to cope with the pressure could make the tour very long for Bavuma, and the same goes for the Proteas as a whole.

A tour to India can break a cricketer, and a rebuilding Proteas team could find themselves constantly chasing the game.

Written by James Richardson for Hollywoodbets.