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South Africa takes on BP XI

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FITNESS REGIMEN: Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis going through the drills during South Africa’s practice session.
FITNESS REGIMEN: Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis going through the drills during South Africa’s practice session.

CRICKET / Chance for youngsters to show their mettle

Nagpur: Aiming to reclaim its numero uno status in the ICC Test ranking, South Africa will start its tour of India when it takes on Board President’s XI in a two-day practice match which commences here on Tuesday.

Mumbai batsman Rohit Sharma will lead the President’s XI in the match before the two-Test series, in which a 2-0 win will ensure that South Africa replaces India on top of the ICC Test rankings.

A 1-0 result, however, will see both the teams level on 123 rating points. Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium here will host the first Test from February 6, followed by the second match at Eden Gardens in Kolkata from February 14.

Recent controversy

Second-ranked South Africa was recently wrecked by a controversy when Mickey Arthur stepped down as coach citing differences with the cricket board last week.

The entire selection committee, headed by former all-rounder Mike Procter, was also sacked following a 1-1 draw with England at home series.

Graeme Smith’s men, however, would try to leave these bitter memories behind and go all out to make it a memorable series for them.

National High Performance coach Corrie Van Zyl has been appointed as the interim coach for the visitors for the Indian tour which also includes three-match ODI series.

On the other hand, young Indian players like paceman Abhimanyu Mithun, who have already got a call into the Test squad, Manpreet Gony and Shikhar Dhawan would also like to prove their mettle in the match. It will also be a test for Rohit and Piyush Chawla to reclaim their spot in the Indian squad after being in and out of the team for sometime.

The teams (from): South Africa: Graeme Smith (capt.), Hashim Amla, Ashwell Prince, AB de Villiers, Jacques Kallis, Jean-Paul Duminy, Alviro Petersen, Mark Boucher, Paul Harris, Johan Botha, Ryan McLaren, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

Board President’s XI: Rohit Sharma (capt.), Abhinav Mukund, Parthiv Patel, Ajinkya Rahane, Manish Pandey, Cheteshwar Pujara, Abhishek Nayar, Piyush Chawla, R. Ashwin, Vinay Kumar, Abhimanyu Mithun, Shikhar Dhawan, Umesh Yadav, Manpreet Gony. — PTI

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