Board President's XI vs South Africa: All eyes on sky as rain threat looms large

Rain threat persists as the visiting South African team and the Board President’s XI are scheduled to clash in a three-day warm-up game from Thursday.

Faf du Plessis during a practice session on Tuesday.   -  K.R. Deepak

Rain threat persists as the visiting South African team and the Board President’s XI are scheduled to clash in a three-day warm-up game at Dr.PVG Raju Sports Complex here from Thursday.

Rains lashed the town on Wednesday morning but receded by afternoon to the relief of the District Association officials. “If it doesn’t rain tonight, then there will be a prompt start to the match,” a senior VDCA official informed.

With the first Test scheduled at Visakhapatnam from October 2 between South Africa and India, this match assumes significance as it is expected to provide a platform for the fringe players to raise the bar and grab the notice of the national selectors.

And especially to someone like captain Rohit Sharma, who had two forgetful outings in the T20 series against South Africa. The other Test squad member who can be the focus of attention is Mayank Agarwal.

Big match

In a way, this is a big match for the players like Priyank Panchal, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Karun Nair and local hero and wicketkeeper-batsman K. Srikar Bharat, who when he last played at this venue scored a century against Hyderabad in the Ranji game.

The 31-year-old Umesh Yadav, who played last in a Test in 2018 and got a lucky break into the Test squad, should grab the chance to get into the groove before the Test.

The case is no different for the likes of pacers Shardul Thakur, Avesh Khan and all-rounder Jalaj Saxena.

On the other hand, this will be the final opportunity for the South Africans du Plessis, vice-captain Temba Bavuma, in-form Quinton de Kock to fine-tune their skills for the longer and challenging format.

The teams (from)

Board President’s XI: Rohit Sharma (capt), Mayank Agarwal, Priyank Panchal, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Karun Nair, Siddhesh Lad, K.S. Bharat (wk), Jalax Saxena, Dharmendrsinh Jadeja, Avesh Khan, Ishan Porel, Shardul Thakur and Umesh Yadav.

South Africa: Faf du Plessis (capt), Temba Bavuma (vice-capt), Kagiso Rabada, Quinton de Kock, Dean Elgar, Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Dane Piedt, Zubair Hamza, Lungi Ngidi, Aiden Makram, Theunis de Bruyn, Heinrich Klassen, Anrich Nortje and Senuran Muthusamy.