S Sreesanth picks Virat Kohli as India’s X-factor for South Africa Tests

India are gearing up for their multi-format series tour to South Africa, featuring three T20Is, as many ODIs, and two Tests. The Test matches are part of the World Test Championship (WTC) 2023-25 cycle. Meanwhile, India A are scheduled to play two four-day matches against South Africa A and engage in an inter-squad three-day match during the tour.

The spotlight of the tour is on the red-ball matches, and former India cricketer S Sreesanth has identified Virat Kohli and KL Rahul as the X-factors for the Indian team in South Africa, placing them ahead of captain Rohit Sharma. Sreesanth highlighted Kohli’s constant desire to prove his worth and commended his prideful approach to the game, emphasizing that the ace India batter handles his pride in a positive, ego-free manner.

“Virat Kohli loves to keep proving, rather than to anybody but to himself. I think he’s that cricketer who actually plays with that pride and he takes that pride in a very good way, not in an egoistic way. So pride for me, and for Virat also I’m sure it’s like personal responsibility in delivering excellence. So, I will go with Virat and KL Rahul,” Sreesanth said during a chat with Firstpost.

Following the conclusion of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, key players such as Kohli, Rohit, and Rahul opted for a break. While Kohli and Rohit are set to miss the white-ball leg of the South Africa tour, they will join the squad for the Tests. Moreover, in the absence of senior players after the ODI World Cup, Suryakumar Yadav led the Indian team to a convincing 4-1 victory in the five-match T20I series against Australia at home.

India’s Squad For Test Series vs South Africa: Rohit Sharma (C), Shubman Gill, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan (wk), KL Rahul (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Mohd. Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Mohd. Shami*, Jasprit Bumrah (VC), Prasidh Krishna.