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South Africa given double injury boost ahead of Boxing Day Test against India

South African head coach Shukri Conrad confirmed Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi's return to the nets on Saturday ahead of the Boxing Day Test match against India and also highlighted India's poor record in Rainbow Nation.

Written By: Sumeet Kavthale @sumeetkavthale New Delhi Updated on: December 24, 2023 6:17 IST
Kagiso Rabada, Rassie van der Dussen and Lungi Ngidi
Image Source : GETTY Kagiso Rabada, Rassie van der Dussen and Lungi Ngidi against India in a Test match in January 2022

South Africa were given a big injury boost on Saturday as premier pacers Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi turned up for a training session at SuperSport Park in Centurion. The pace duo was doubtful for the Boxing Day Test match against India but bowled at full steam in a major boost for the hosts. 

Centurion's pitch favours pace bowlers and Rabada-Ngidi's return to nets will amplify the Proteas bowling attack. Rabada was given the rest from the white-ball series against India due to a heel niggle while Ngidi missed the T20I series due to a left ankle injury.

The Proteas' head coach Shukri Conrad confirmed that both bowlers are firing in the training session and are fresh for the Centurion Test. However, Conrad added that the final decision on Rabada and Ngidi's involvement will be taken on Sunday morning. 

"Rabada and Ngidi will be fresh and firing, I am always a firm believer of freshness," Shukri Conrad told reporters at SuperSport ahead of a training session on Saturday. "It would have been ideal had they got some mileage in the legs by playing first-class matches but that's life. You have got to find a way. But I am not bothered that they will be undercooked for the game. KG (Rabada) and Lungi are still in the 15-member squad and available for selection. We will make that decision tomorrow. Hopefully, tomorrow morning we will have a full squad of 15 to select from." 

Meanwhile, the Indian team will be without their premier pacer Mohammed Shami and young batter Ruturaj Gaikwad due to different injury issues. India have never won a Test series in South Africa and have triumphed in only four of 23 red-ball matches in the Rainbow Nation.

However, the Indian team will enter this series as favourites having dominated Test cricket in the last two years and are ranked no.1 in the ICC team's chart across all formats. Conrad recognized India's recent impressive form in Tests but tipped the hosts to triumph due to India's poor form in South Africa.

"If it was ever possible to make the series ever bigger then that makes it even bigger that India have never won a Test series here. We certainly want to hold that proud record and make sure it doesn't happen," Shukri Conrad added.

South Africa Test squad: Temba Bavuma (c), David Bedingham, Nandre Burger, Gerald Coetzee, Tony de Zorzi, Dean Elgar, Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Wiaan Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Keegan Petersen, Kagiso Rabada, Tristan Stubbs (wk), Kyle Verreynne (wk)

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