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Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay to open for India in South Africa, says Ravi Shastri

The tour to South Africa is going to be Indian cricket team’s biggest test under Shastri’s coaching regime so far

cricket Updated: Dec 17, 2017 17:30 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Shikhar Dhawan,Murali Vijay,Indian cricket team
Murali Vijay (L) and Shikhar Dhawan will open for India against South Africa.(PTI)

Ever since Ravi Shastri took over from Anil Kumble as the coach of Indian cricket team, the team has not lost even a single Test. However, with majority of these victories coming in familiar conditions, his real test will be in South Africa where India are scheduled to play a three-Test series, beginning at Newlands on January 5. (IND v SL 3rd ODI UPDATES | SCORECARD)

Though India are currently involved in a three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka, Shastri has already started planning for the upcoming battle against the Proteas. With the opening combination holding key for any team’s success in away tours, Shastri has revealed the name of the first choice Indian openers for the series.

While KL Rahul has impressed everyone with his technique and temperament, Shastri has decided to give the role of facing the new ball to Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan.

“You look at experience; you look at variety so that’s what Shikhar brings in, a left hand, right hand combination so he is a must. He has got lots of runs. Vijay the most experienced and a very good record overseas and he brings solidity (sic),” the former Indian captain said while talking to CNN-News18 on Saturday.

On the omission of Rahul, the 55-year old said that though the youngster has been the most improved batsman in the last 18 months, he would have to wait for his opportunity at this stage. He also added that Rahul would need to learn to convert his 50s and 60s into big 100s and 150s.

“Young Rahul is immensely talented and he will get his opportunity at some stage. He might have to wait for a while but he will get his opportunity think he was the most improved player in the last 18 months. It’s just unfortunate that he didn’t convert those 60s into 150s but he will learn (sic),” he said.

Shastri, who is known for his baritone in cricket commentary, also spoke about the debate surrounding Sri Lanka team’s refusal to field during the recently-held Kotla Test due to rising pollution levels in the Indian capital. While trying to downplay the issue, he said that the threat of pollution was real.

“Let’s face it, there was pollution. And I think it is soon going to come within the rules in future. Just as you had a light meter you will have a pollution meter. And you might have to draw a line. That if this thing goes above this, or if in a certain time of year the pollution is above a certain level, you don’t play then. Ït is as simple as that. It’s just like on a golf course. If there is lightning, it doesn’t matter whether it is a major or whatever. It is dangerous, so people leave,” said the Indian cricket team coach adding that some of Indian players faced the same problem during the match.

“You know you can go over the top at times but yes let’s face it there was pollution. It wasn’t all drama on their part. It was pretty bad. Couple of our players also suffered. But it’s for the umpires to control the game and say “play or don’t play.” It was as simple as that,” Shastri said.

First Published: Dec 17, 2017 15:32 IST