Proteas paceman Rabada rested for India ODI series

By Sports Desk January 18, 2022

South Africa will have to do without Kagiso Rabada when they face India in a three-match ODI series.

Rabada was released from the squad on the eve of Wednesday's first game at Boland Park, afforded a rest ahead of the Tests against New Zealand next month.

The selectors did not call up a replacement for the paceman, who helped the Proteas come from behind to consign India to a 2-1 defeat in the recent Test series.

Spinner George Linde has been retained from the Test squad and the left-armer will be hoping to add to his tally of two ODI appearances.

South Africa have not won an ODI series since a whitewash of Australia in March 2020, and their most recent series against the Netherlands was postponed due to concerns over the Omicron coronavirus variant.

Virat Kohli is set to play in his first match since stepping down as India's Test captain.

With Rohit Sharma out of the tour due to a hamstring injury, KL Rahul leads the side and will open as the tourists strive to put behind them the disappointment of failing to win a first Test series in South Africa.

India have won the last two ODI series they have contested, beating both England and Sri Lanka by a 2-1 margin. The tourists have added Jayant Yadav and Navdeep Saini to their squad, with Washington Sundar missing out after testing positive for COVID-19.

South Africa were hammered 5-1 when they last faced India in an ODI series on home soil four years ago, Kohli claiming the man of the series award.

There will be no World Cup Super League points to play for in this series, but South Africa must build some momentum as they are currently outside the automatic qualification spots for the showpiece in India next year.

Kohli overdue a century

Kohli brought a halt to his long reign as Test skipper a day after South Africa were beaten by seven wickets in the third and final Test at Newlands.

The 33-year-old had relinquished the Twenty20 captaincy following the World Cup late last year and was then replaced by Rohit as ODI skipper.

Kohli had to contend with further questions about his lack of runs ahead of that decisive match in Cape Town and you have to go back to November 2019 for his last international century, that coming against Bangladesh in the longest format.

He has not reached three figures in an ODI since a game against West Indies in August 2019, but averages 59.07 in this format and could thrive without leadership duties.

South Africa have unearthed a gem in Jansen

Marco Jansen was magnificent in his first Test series, the all-rounder taking 19 wickets at an average of 16.47 as he caused the India batters all sorts of problems.

South Africa have unearthed another gem in the form of the towering 21-year-old, who has a very big future ahead of him and can make a big impact in his first taste of ODI cricket.

Quinton de Kock brought his Test career to an end after a defeat to India in the first Test at SuperSport Park but can still have a big role to play in the shorter formats.

Skipper Temba Bavuma impressed with the bat in the Test series and South Africa will look to him to make some significant contributions as they battle to inflict another defeat on India.

Related items

  • French Open: Tsitsipas through against "complete player" Kolar French Open: Tsitsipas through against "complete player" Kolar

    Stefanos Tsitsipas called Zdenek Kolar a "complete player", despite ultimately defeating his Czech opponent in the second round of the French Open.

    Tsitsipas was relatively untroubled in the first set, but was made to work for the win after that as he and Kolar exchanged one tie-break each before the number four seed finally secured victory with another tie-break in the fourth set, sealing it 6-3 7-6 (10-8) 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (9-7).

    Kolar is ranked 134th in the world but looked every bit a threat to Tsitsipas on Court Suzanne-Lenglen, hitting 57 winners and succeeding with 29 of 37 net points (78 per cent).

    Speaking at a news conference after his win, Tsitsipas explained the difficulties he experienced, saying: "He's someone I knew a little bit. It's never easy playing guys that don't really play on the ATP Tour. You don't really know what to expect. I guess they play more free.

    "It's always like this. They really have a nothing-to-lose mentality. It's a different mentality than what we have, I think, which sometimes can really be brutal on the court and create some good tennis.

    "He was really pushing a lot today, getting after every ball. His body was behind every ball. Running fast, reacting fast. Good net game. Complete player, I would say. Yeah, it wasn't easy out there to face him and come up with some good solutions."

    Tsitsipas - who hit 25 aces - displayed some of his oft-seen frustration as he struggled to stay on top of his opponent, and was asked if his hardest obstacle was Kolar or himself.

    "I guess both today," he said. "I had a lot of opportunities, break points, playing quite well, staying within the game. He was coming up with some really good ideas and I think dealt with all of the situations so maturely, not overexaggerating anything. He's an intelligent player, I would say.

    "Look, last year there were moments where it was about me and the way I deal with situations on the court, not focusing that much on who is on the other side. It's all about perspective. It's sometimes good to focus on what you are doing, but also if you're not feeling great, you have to see the other side too."

    Having rallied from two sets down to beat Lorenzo Musetti in the first round, and now being made to work hard by Kolar, Tsitsipas will now face Mikael Ymer after the Swede beat 29th seed Dan Evans on Thursday.

  • Pelicans star Zion Williamson cleared to return without any restrictions Pelicans star Zion Williamson cleared to return without any restrictions

    Zion Williamson has been cleared to return to play without any restrictions.

    The New Orleans Pelicans star did not play a single game this season due to a foot fracture as his team reached the playoffs through the play-in tournament, before losing 4-2 to the Phoenix Suns in the first round.

    Williamson has been troubled by fitness issues throughout his NBA career, and the former first overall pick returned to full team activities in late November, only to suffer further setbacks.

    However, the Pelicans confirmed on Thursday that the 21-year-old is finally able to return without restrictions, saying via a statement: "The New Orleans Pelicans announced today that recent imaging of Zion Williamson's right fifth metatarsal showed continued improvement.

    "Williamson has been cleared in his return to play progression without any restrictions."

    In the 2020-21 season, Williamson averaged 27.0 points and 7.2 rebounds from 61 games, and scored more than 20 in each of his last 15 games before getting injured just over a year ago.

    Williamson is eligible for a five-year, $181million max rookie extension ahead of the 2022-23 season, and he will not think twice if that offer comes from the Pelicans, recently saying: "Of course, I couldn't sign it fast enough."

  • French Open: Swiatek not keeping track of outstanding 30-match winning run French Open: Swiatek not keeping track of outstanding 30-match winning run

    Only the understandable media attention is allowing Iga Swiatek to keep count of her incredible winning run that reached 30 matches on Thursday.

    The world number one sealed her place in the third round of the French Open after a dominant 6-0 6-2 win against Alison Riske.

    That victory made her just the fourth WTA Tour player this century to win 30 or more consecutive matches. She has also taken 46 of the past 47 sets she has played.

    Speaking at a news conference following her milestone win, Swiatek insisted she does not follow the numbers – although she has no need to while her streak remains the focus of journalists.

    "I know how many matches I have won in a row because you keep reminding me, basically," she said. "But I don't keep track.

    "I'm not like noting or something. I just try to come back to these matches to get experience from them. But that's the only reason why I come back to them."

    Swiatek was asked to explain what had inspired her imperious form, with her 39 match victories in 2022 already three more than she managed in the whole of 2021.

    "I think basically I changed some things, like I started being more aggressive and trying to be more proactive on court," she replied. "That's something that my coach really helped me to do.

    "But also, I think all the work we have been doing, even last season, it finally clicked somehow.

    "You know, last season it was a year for me where I really gained so much experience. This year I feel like I'm using it the right way. I have this experience already, and I can just move forward.

    "So I think it's the physical work I have been doing but also with my psychologist, I think it's the work of the whole team as well. I'm pretty glad that it clicks right now."

    The 20-year-old conceded her form will not last forever, but she is determined to enjoy it while it lasts.

    "I was saying from the beginning that for sure I'm going to reach a point where I'm going to lose a match, and it's pretty normal, you know," Swiatek said. "I have been losing matches in tennis for a long time.

    "For sure, the things we are doing right now are pretty extraordinary, but I know in tennis that only one person wins at the end. I will be okay with that.

    "For sure, it's not fun to lose, but I think it wouldn't be different than any other loss that I had in my career."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.