Fresh off their hot streak of winning 11 out of their last 12 ODIs, South Africa will play a 3 ODI series against India starting March 12th. The first game will be held at Dharamshala. The Proteas, who swept a second successive home series against Australia, beating the guests 3-0 under new white-ball captain Quinton de Kock. India, on the other hand, faced abysmal defeat in the ODIs while touring New Zealand, with hosts sweeping a 5-0 victory against the boys in blue.

Despite the recent poor performance, the Indian home advantage cannot be discounted. The last time the two sides squared off, South Africa were no match for the Indian side, who went on a rampage in their den and inflicted a 2-0 T20I series defeat, followed by a 3-0 clean-sweep in the One-Day series that followed. This time around, however, the hosts will miss the services of their vice-captain Rohit Sharma, who remains on the sidelines with a calf injury, which he picked up during the T20I series in New Zealand. Moreover, Indian skipper Virat Kohli, who was out of his element during the New Zealand tour will like to perform with the bat to cement India’s chances against the Protean side. All-rounder Hardik Pandya’s much-awaited comeback to the side will boost the Indian team’s morale further. South Africa meanwhile, would be immensely pleased with the contributions of Janneman Malan, Heinrich Klaasen and Jon Jon Smuts in the home triumph against Australia. But they will also want the experienced duo of skipper Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis to perform well.

Mark Boucher, South African coach had this to say regarding the upcoming series: “We have just beaten a very good team now. We needed confidence and it will certainly give us a lot of confidence. India is going to be a tough test. [A] Lot of guys haven’t played a lot of cricket in India. What’s impressive is guys have responded to the messages we have sent out to them on batting and bowling perspective.”

The series between the number 2 and number 4 ranked nations in ICC ODI rankings comes amidst the novel coronavirus scare. Around 58 confirmed cases of coronavirus have been reported so far in India. Close to 40 per cent of tickets of the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) Stadium, some 250 km from the state capital — with a seating capacity of 22,000 — remained unsold till Wednesday, match organisers reported. The officials said that in the wake of coronavirus outbreak, cricket buffs, largely foreigners, are trying to take precautionary measures by restricting themselves on travelling and attending public gatherings. Leaving the fear of foreigners aside, even the corporate houses in India preferred to give the stadium a miss.

In light of such conditions, alongside both teams’ performances in their respective previous ODI series, the series beginner at Dharamshala is going to be an interesting contest.