India all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja is a doubt for the first Test against South Africa due to a viral illness, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said yesterday.
The left-arm spinner has been suffering from the illness for the last two days and a decision on his inclusion for the opening Test in Cape Town will be made before the first day of play starts tomorrow. Meanwhile, batsman Shikhar Dhawan has been declared fit after recovering from a minor ankle injury.
Virat Kohli’s side are atop the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Test rankings after winning nine successive series but their record on tour in South Africa is dismal. India have won just two of the 17 Tests played there since 1992, losing five of the six series, with the 1-1 draw in 2010-11 their best return. The two teams will play three Tests, six One-Day Internationals and three Twenty20 matches through to the end of February.
Meanwhil, Indian opener Murali Vijay said he wants to play his ‘A’ game against South Africa, adding he is in positive frame of mind for the match and not taking any sort of stress.
“I just want to go out there and whatever is thrown at me, I just want to play my ‘A’ game and do well for my country,” Vijay said. “I don’t want to think too much about what will happen in a couple days’ time. I just want to prepare myself and be in a confident state of mind, which I am at the moment,” he added.
Despite the conditions and pitch favouring the fast bowlers, the Tamil Nadu batsman said the role of spinners will also be important. “It is actually a very, very important role because you have to support the fast bowlers as well. If you can bowl the spinners in the game, they can come in big time and get a couple of wickets here and there, so it will be a great help for us,” he said.
The right-hand opener revealed that this time he has done his homework better than the last time when he toured here. “I am preparing myself to be a little more open-minded than I was last time. You cannot have a set pattern you cannot go into a Test thinking that you are going to leave so many balls. You also have to be in a frame of mind to score runs,” Vijay said.
Commenting on the pitch, Vijay said: “It is quite green. I don’t know how it is going to behave on day one. For an opening batsman, the swing is more difficult to face than bounce. Personally, I think I am able to manage bounce more. If the ball swings around, it is difficult for any batsman to keep his shape.”
India’s captain Virat Kohli (left) and South Africa’s skipper Faf du Plessis pose with trophy yesterday, ahead of the first Test in Cape Town . (AFP)