After a thrilling Test series, we are now set to witness a three-match ODI series between the two mighty teams in South Africa and India. India missed out on a golden chance of a maiden Test series win in South Africa, but they now have to leave that behind to start under a new captain.

A lot happened between the end of the Test series and the start of the ODI series. Virat Kohli stood down from Test captaincy and KL Rahul will be leading India in the ODIs in the absence of Rohit Sharma. Ravichandran Ashwin is also making a comeback into the ODI team for the first time after June 2017.

On the other hand, South Africa last played an ODI series against Sri Lanka in September. They lost the series 1-2, but there were many positives from that series, especially a bunch of young talents. South Africa is a strong side with a mix of youngsters and experienced players in the line-up and will be looking to win the ODI series after a gritty Test series win.

Head-to-head

South Africa vs India 1st ODI Preview
Head-to-head in ODI

There isn’t much to differentiate between the two teams in terms of their rankings, with India at fourth and South Africa at the number five spot. South Africa have faced India in 34 games in South Africa, winning 22 and losing 10.

Overall, South Africa have won 46 out of 84 matches against India, with India winning 35. In their last five encounters, India have won three, including a World Cup victory. Even though India’s win percentage against South Africa is 41.67%, the visitors will be a tough opponent for South Africa even at home.

Indian players to watch out for

Virat Kohli

Kohli hasn’t scored a hundred in the past two years, but the batter has never been out of form. In the last three years, he has scored 1830 runs at an average of 55.45, which has never fallen below 50 in recent years. He will be a critical player for India due to his incredible record against the Proteas, having scored 1287 runs at an astonishing average of 64.4. Kohli’s experience and aggressive nature with the bat will be crucial for India.

Shikhar Dhawan

After a poor Vijay Hazare Trophy performance with just 56 runs in five innings, Dhawan hasn’t been in great form lately. But Dhawan has been in fine form in the ODI format in the past three years, with 1138 runs at an average of 47.41 in 28 matches.

South Africa vs India 1st ODI Preview
Players to watch out: India

Ravichandran Ashwin

After a gap of four years, Ashwin is making a comeback in the ODI format. After a return to the T20 format in the 2021 World Cup, Ashwin is in the form of his life. When Ashwin played last in 2017, he had a rough patch with just eight wickets in nine matches in that calendar year. For the past 12 months, Ashwin has been a phenomenon in the shortest format of the game, but the challenge in 50-over is different. Not to forget, he has very tough competition for the place in the XI in the form of Yuzvendra Chahal.

Venkatesh Iyer

The prodigy from Madhya Pradesh, Venkatesh Iyer, has been a breakthrough star in World Cricket. Having excelled in the Indian Premier League, he was selected in the Indian team for the shortest format of the game. Now, after an exhilarating Vijay Hazare Trophy, where he scored 379 runs and took nine wickets in six games, he has been selected as the all-around option in the ODI squad.

South African players to watch out for

Janneman Malan

After the retirement of Faf du Plessis, South Africa have been looking for a solid batter. Janneman Malan has made a huge impact in the past 12 months, with an implausible average of 82.62 in 11 matches. Malan is a youngster who has a bright future for Cricket South Africa if he continues to play in the same manner, and this series against a big team like India will test his skills and ability with the bat in hand.

Quinton de Kock

After a shocking retirement in the Test format during the Test series, all eyes will be on de Kock during the ODI series. De Kock has an incredible record against India, scoring 784 runs at an average of 60.30. It includes five centuries and a fifty. De Kock is one of the experienced players in the line-up, and South Africa will want him to step up.

South Africa vs India 1st ODI Preview
Players to watch out: South Africa

Tabraiz Shamsi

Shamsi has been in tremendous form in white-ball cricket in the past few years, and he is currently second in the T20 rankings. Shamsi has improved as a bowler in recent years, and over the past three years, he has picked up 27 wickets at an average of 32.37 in 50-over cricket. Shamsi’s consistency and accuracy will be crucial as he might be the prime spinner for South Africa in this series. He needs to be consistent and perform well to support South Africa’s lethal pace bowling attack.

Marco Jansen

After a stunning start in his Test career, the young left-arm pace bowler, Jansen, is set to make his debut in the ODI format for South Africa. Jansen made his debut in the Test series, and he impressed one and all by picking 19 wickets in the series. Jansen has been sensational in List A cricket with 16 wickets in 13 matches, and he has proved his worth in white-ball cricket in the IPL too. Jansen is a great value addition to this squad and the bowling unit, and it’s a big debut series for the youngster against India.

Probable XI

India: KL Rahul (c), S. Dhawan, V. Kohli, S. Iyer, R. Pant, V. Iyer, B. Kumar, D. Chahar, R. Ashwin, J. Bumrah (vc), Y. Chahal

South Africa: Q. de Kock, J. Malan, Z. Hamza, R.V.D. Dussen, T. Bavuma, D. Miller, M. Jansen, K. Maharaj (vc), K. Rabada, L. Ngidi, T. Shamsi