Cricket-Rahul backs Ashwin, Chahal to put S Africa in a spin

  • Cricket
  • Tuesday, 18 Jan 2022

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - Third Test - South Africa v India - Newlands Cricket Ground, Cape Town, South Africa - January 14, 2022 India's Ravichandran Ashwin in action REUTERS/Sumaya Hisham

PAARL, South Africa (Reuters) - India captain KL Rahul says South Africa will face a trial by spin in the first two One-Day Internationals of the three-match series starting on Wednesday that will be played on the slower, lower pitch at Boland Park.

India had to contend with pace and bounce in their 2-1 test series loss to South Africa, but will find conditions more like home in Paarl.

South Africa have had well documented troubles against spin in the past and Rahul believes the returning Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal will be a handful for the hosts in the first two games, with the third to be staged at Newlands in Cape Town on Sunday.

"We have practiced for a couple of days at Boland Park and the pitch does look like it might offer a lot more for the spinners than what we saw in the test series," Rahul told reporters.

"We have quality spinners. Ashwin is coming back into the one-day team and we all know what quality he brings. And Chahal has been a great performer for us for a number of years.

"If there is any help from the pitch, I know these two can exploit it. So they become really important for us."

India have not selected a full-strength squad for an ODI series since their 2-1 home win over England in March.

Since then, Rahul has taken over the captaincy from Virat Kohli and for what is the start of their build-up to the 2023 Cricket World Cup that India will host.

"We have sat down as a team and had an honest talk about what are the things we can improve and what can we get better at. Everyone is committed to it. We have the World Cup in mind and we have a process we have all decided to follow," Rahul said.

"All these games become really important for us to go out there and try and grow as a team, and do all the things that we spoke about.

"We won't be a team that is scared to try a few things because our focus is on the World Cup and to try and get the best team out on the park."

(Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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