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Mission revenge at the Bullring

Dhoni and Co. will look to bounce back from the opening debacle as they get set to take on South Africa. Subhash Rajta reports.

cricket Updated: Jan 15, 2011 03:04 IST
Subhash Rajta

Chris Scott is perhaps the only person in the world to get a man-of-the-match award in an international match without even playing in the game. Scott, who's a curator at the Wanderers, was given the award in a rained-out Test match between South Africa and New Zealand about a decade back.

"That was quite interesting," the old man chuckled. "Actually all but one day of the match was rained out. And the people got to see me more than the players pulling the covers on and off the wicket. So, they thought they could very well give me the award," he recalled.

The curator might as well be in line for his second man-of-the-match award if rains continue on Saturday as well, of which, the weatherman predicts, there's a very good chance. "That's surely not going to happen, but, yes, we can't have more rains now. There's already so much moisture, and if it rains more now, it would be difficult to prepare the ground for tomorrow's match," he said, looking worriedly at the continual drizzle.

The teams will have a lot more on their minds apart from the rain, The first and foremost thing of interest to everyone in this game would be whether India could stage a comeback from the massive loss, much like they did in the Test series.http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/HTEditImages/Images/15_01_11_metro_20.jpg

South Africa, at least, appear wary of that. "Just got to be very wary about how India came back in the Test series. It's important that they go in and hit India hard from the very first ball, and make sure they don't get complacent. Although India have young players, they are pretty experienced and know how to play out of these situations. So we just need to be careful of that," said Duncan Fletcher, South Africa's batting consultant.

Nevertheless, the comeback isn't going to be easy. More than experience, Indian batsmen will need to dig deep into their reserves of doggedness and determination to face the fire-breathing pace attack. The traditionally batsmen friendly wicket at the Wanderers should, however, warm up their hearts a bit. "There will be good pace and carry, but little lateral movement. I see lot of runs in this track," said Scott.

The other issue that the team, including South Africa, would be grappling with is picking up the final XI. With one eye on the World Cup, the team managements must be finding themselves torn between the desire to play their certainties for the World Cup and the compulsion to go with "horses for courses" approach. http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/HTEditImages/Images/15_01_11_metro_20b.jpg

While South Africa would want to give Imran Tahir, a certainty for the World Cup, a game as early as possible to find his feet in the team before the mega event, India, too, would want to create a berth for Yusuf Pathan, again a near certainty for the World Cup. Caught in the Catch-22 situation, it will be interesting to see who makes the final XI from both sides.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/HTEditImages/Images/15_01_11_metro_20c.jpg

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