It's not hard to reason this one but you migh...
It looks like Twenty20 mania has reached fever pitch. Well, it's either that or the fact that a couple of cricket boards want to go out of their way to earn some extra dough! Either way, a bizarrely-scheduled one-off Twenty20 international between India and South Africa will be played in Johannesburg today.
This game comes just days before the IPL starts and features a relatively inexperienced Proteas squad taking on what appears to be a full-strength Team India. 29-year-old Johan Botha will lead the hosts in the absence of regular skipper AB de Villiers in this match. Veteran all-rounder Jacques Kallis, pacer Lonwabo Tsotsobe and batsman Albie Morkel will also play in this game alongside newcomers like Farhaan Behardien and the ever-exciting Richard Levi.
The Indians will be led by wicketkeeper-batsman MS Dhoni and will also field other Twenty20 regulars like Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja, Suresh Raina and R. Ashwin. Team India's 15-man squad also features four meduim pacers--Irfan Pathan, Praveen Kumar, Ashok Dinda and Vinay Kumar--and it will be interesting to see if Dhoni goes with convention and picks Praveen and Vinay or if he sticks to his bizarre instincts and goes with a wild card pace attack for a match in which very little--and quite possibly nothing--is at stake!
Although we're still trying to make sense of it, we just can't understand why a team needs to travel half way around the world to play a three-hour game. The players will end up spending more time in the nets, or for that matter even in their hotel bathrooms than they will playing the match!
Is this the board's idea of giving its players more playing time on international strips so as to balance out the excessive amounts of cricket played in the subcontinent? Or is this just a way to generate some IPL publicity in South Africa? Or is this game simply scheduled to redeem the frequent-flyer miles earned by the well-travelled Team India over the last few years?
Well, we're stumped! However, if you're going to tune into this can't-miss event today at 21:00 IST, here's what the two squads look like:
India - Singh Dhoni (captain), Virat Kohli (vice-captain), Robin Uthappa, Gautam Gambhir, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Manoj Tiwary, Irfan Pathan, Ravichandran Ashwin, Praveen Kumar, Vinay Kumar, Rahul Sharma, Yusuf Pathan, Ashok Dinda.
South Africa - Johan Botha (Capt), Farhaan Behardien, Faf du Plessis, Jacques Kallis, Colin Ingram, Richard Levi, Albie Morkel, Justin Ontong, Wayne Parnell, Rusty Theron, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Morné van Wyk and Dane Vilas.
-Pictures courtesy Reuters-
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