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No surprises or new faces likely

The Indian team to South Africa for the forthcoming three-match Test series is unlikely to see new faces.

The National selectors will meet here on Monday to pick the squad which is expected to have 17 members.

Given the nature of playing conditions the team would encounter in the Tests at Cape Town, Centurion and Johannesburg, pace bowlers should dominate the bowling unit with Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar picking themselves.

Hardik Pandya, the pace bowling all-rounder, would return from the ‘rest’ he was granted from the current series against Sri Lanka. It remains to be seen if the selectors can find a place for Jasprit Bumrah to make the tour since he is rated high for his ability to bowl yorkers.

In the spin department, left-armer Kuldeep Yadav may not make the bus since R. Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have performed well.

The batting line-up is well identified with Shikhar Dhawan, M. Vijay, K.L. Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma in excellent form. There may be concerns regarding Ajinkya Rahane’s failure in the last five innings but his fine record overseas should see him through.

Wriddhiman Saha, the first choice wicketkeeper, may have Parthiv Patel as a stand-by in case of emergency.

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