Team India is all set for the South Africa
tour, with the three-Test series starting December 26 at SuperSport Park in
Centurion. India are in good form. After winning the Test series in Australia
earlier this year, they made England trail 2-1 in a postponed Test series. At
home, India handed New Zealand a 1-0 defeat. Now, as the much-awaited
South Africa series begins, the eyes will be on these five cricketers because
of the recent development in their careers.

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Virat Kohli

India’s Test captain Virat Kohli will be under
scrutiny when the Test series against South Africa begins on Sunday. The
captaincy controversy has not still settled down, while his performance as a
batter is nothing special to speak of. Kohli last scored a hundred in 2019 when
he scored 136 against Bangladesh in Kolkata Test in November. Since then, he
managed just two half-centuries that too one in 2020 and another in 2021.

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He will head to the SuperSport Park without
scoring a hundred in the last 23 innings. Not only that he had two consecutive
below-par years in Tests, as he managed just 116 runs at 19.33 in six innings
in 2020, and so far in 2021 he has amassed 483 runs at 28.41 in 17 innings.

Kohli will look to fix all the damages with his
bat when he takes the pitch on Sunday. His record in South Africa has also been
impressive. He scored 558 runs at an average of 55.80 in 10 innings, including
two hundreds and two fifties.

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Ravichandran Ashwin

Ravichandran Ashwin will look to make the best
use of Ravindra Jadeja’s absence during the South Africa series. He will be
India’s prime spinner during the upcoming tour.

Ashwin has also been in good form of late. He
took 14 wickets against New Zealand in the recently concluded two-match Test
series. With this figure, he surpassed Harbhajan Singh (417) to become India’s
third-highest wicket-taker in Tests, only behind Anil Kumble (619) and Kapil
Dev (434). He currently has 427 wickets to his name in 81 Tests, which makes
him the 12th most successful bowler in Test history.

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The off-spinner has a very good record against
the Proteas, taking 53 wickets in 10 Tests at an average of 19.75. But this
record is mainly due to his exploits in home conditions. His record against
them in pace friendly South African conditions is a modest one — 7 wickets in
3 Tests at 46.14.

With experience and form on his side, Ashwin is
expected to make an impact in the series and even look to go past legendary
Kapil Dev’s record of 434 wickets as he is just 7 behind that tally.

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Cheteshwar Pujara

India’s Test specialist Cheteshwar Pujara is
under huge pressure. He managed just 163 runs at an average of 20.37 in 8
innings in 2020, and so far this year has accumulated 686 runs in 24 innings at
29.82. He needs to pull his socks up to cement his place in the team. South
Africa series will be crucial for him. Like Kohli, he also failed to score a
hundred in the last three years.

Pujara last scored a Test hundred against
Australia in January 2019, a majestic 193 in Sydney. In the recently concluded
New Zealand series, he could manage just 95 runs in four innings.

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A veteran of 92 Tests, Pujara has a modest record
against South Africa, scoring 758 runs in 23 innings at 32.95 with the help of
a hundred and five fifties.

Shreyas Iyer

In his debut Test series, Shreyas Iyer has
produced solid performances. He scored a hundred in his debut Test innings in
Kanpur, also became the first Indian to score a century and a half-century in
his debut match as he contributed 65 in the second innings. After his first
Test series, Shreyas has accumulated 202 runs at an impressive average of
50.50, which included a hundred and a fifty. Now in South Africa, he will look
to prove his ability in overseas conditions as well.

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Jasprit Bumrah

Jasprit Bumrah will be making a comeback into
the Indian team after getting a rest from international duties after the T20
World Cup. He was rested for both the Test and T20I series against New Zealand.

Long regarded as a white-ball specialist,
Bumrah took to red-ball cricket like a fish to water. Bumrah made his Test
debut incidentally against South Africa in Cape Town almost four years back.
Since then, he has established himself as the India pace spearhead in the
longest format too.

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Bumrah has taken 101 wickets in 24 Tests so far
at an average of 22.79, which includes six 5-wicket hauls.

He also has a very good record against the
Proteas, taking 14 wickets in three matches at an average of 25.21, with 5/54
in Johannesburg as his best.

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Bumrah would like to fire again this time
around on the lively conditions of South Africa.