The first Test between India and South Africa is just days away and the teams have stepped up their preparations for the series. The team management is figuring out the best combinations for the game. India have a few calls to make as well. Given the challenging conditions of South Africa, many felt India may play an extra batter to add a bit more depth in their batting. However, India vice-captain KL Rahul has hinted that the team will go in with five specialist bowlers. Rahul said the strategy has worked for the team in the past and there is no reason for the team to ditch the winning formulae as it gives the team a greater chance of picking 20 wickets, a must-win condition to win a Test match.
"I think most teams have started playing five bowlers and every team wants to pick up 20 wickets and that's the only way you can win a Test match. We have used this tactic and it has helped us in away games," Rahul told.
Barring the bowling combination, the team has to finalise a batter for the No 5 slot. There are three contenders fighting for the spot. Veteran Ajinkya Rahane was the team's No 1 choice for the spot. However, a dip in his form has put his place in the team in doubt. There is Shreyas Iyer, who made a staggering debut against New Zealand. Hanuma Vihari is also a candidate. Rahul admitted that it will be a tough call to make.
"It is a very, very difficult decision. Ajinkya has played crucial knocks for India including the one in Melbourne or in Lord's recently. He has been a key player for us. Shreyas has taken his chances. Hanuma has also done the same for us. We will have a chat about that today or tomorrow," he added.
The match gets underway on December 26 in Centurion.