South Africa and India will both be testing their depth when they meet in two white-ball series, starting with a Twenty20 international at Kingsmead in Durban on Sunday.
Three T20 matches will be followed by three One-Day Internationals during a tour which is a financial lifesaver for Cricket South Africa (CSA).
The cash-strapped host stands to earn in excess of a billion rand ($53 million), mainly from TV rights, which is far in excess of income from any other incoming tours.
“It will obviously help us balance the books but it is not just us, every country needs India, purely based on the broadcast revenues,” said Pholetsi Moseki, chief executive of CSA.
Both teams will be without key players for the white-ball games, ahead of two World Test Championship matches later in the tour.
South Africa’s ODI and Test captain Temba Bavuma and fast bowler Kagiso Rabada will miss all the limited overs matches.
Fast bowlers Gerald Coetzee, Marco Jansen and Lungi Ngidi will play only in the first two T20 internationals before returning to their franchises to play in domestic four-day cricket ahead of the Tests.
Regular Indian captain Rohit Sharma and former captain Virat Kohli will also miss the limited overs games, while recent T20 captain Hardik Pandya is injured.
Suryakumar Yadav, fresh from leading India to a 4-1 T20I home series win against Australia, will captain the T20 side while K.L. Rahul will be in charge for the one-day matches.
With the T20 World Cup due to be played in the West Indies and the United States in June, the three-match series provides an opportunity for fringe players to press their claims.
South African white-ball coach Rob Walter said he wanted to continue to build a core group of players to capitalise on the momentum achieved during the recent Cricket World Cup, where South Africa reached the semifinals.
“The move (to rest some players) has presented opportunities for others who have been performing well on domestic level,” said Walter.
India was outstanding in the 50-overs World Cup before losing to Australia in the final. But its side is less settled, although World Cup stars Shubman Gill, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav and Mohammed Siraj return to the format after being rested from the series against Australia.
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