Kohli and Dravid
Rahul Dravid, head coach of Team India, with Test captain Virat Kohli during a practice session ahead of the first Test at Super Sport Park in Centurion. Image Credit: ANI

Centurion: India head coach Rahul Dravid said that the members of the team are very clear about the composition of the playing XI ahead of the first Test against South Africa at SuperSport Park in Centurion, but refused to reveal the playing XI, saying that the world will get to know about it on the morning of the match. India begin their three-match Test series on Sunday.

“I think we are very clear within our group of what kind of team (playing eleven) is going to be leading into the Boxing Day Test match. I just like to keep it that way. As someone just from a perspective of a batsman, I would certainly like want to know what will be the opposition’s bowling attack and what the team is, and what they are playing. So, I think what we are clear and we don’t see the need to inform the opposition of what exactly the eleven is going to be. So, we will see that tomorrow morning at the start of the match,” said Dravid in the pre-match virtual press conference.


Dravid felt confident about the fast-bowling attack doing well in the South African conditions. “I certainly feel that we have got a great attack this time, we have got a fantastic attack. We have got some good experience in the overall squad. So that’s something we can take a lot of heart from. We know that we can certainly fight back and take 20 wickets in these conditions.”

India have enjoyed recent success in Australia and England, but South Africa remains a mighty challenge for the top ranked Test side, though they will arguably never have had a better chance against a home team going through a transition period and with far less experience than in the past.

“It is a great challenge and a great opportunity for everyone,” Dravid said. “It is something you look forward to as a batsman, the chance to play away from home and test yourself against some really good opposition in their home conditions.

“A lot of your career is defined by those sorts of performances, so it is a great opportunity for everyone in the group to put in the performances that are something that they can remember, and people will remember them for.”

Virat Kohli will captain India in the first Test but decisions around the middle-order batting and how many seamers to pick will be the main conundrum for the selectors.

The second test will be in Johannesburg from January 3-7, with the third in Cape Town from January 11-15.