There will be plenty of limelight on Dinesh Karthik, who recently turned 37.

With the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 coming to an end, it’s time to get back to international cricket now. India and South Africa will soon battle it out in a five-match T20I series in India. The series will begin with the first T20I at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi on June 9 and conclude with the final match at the M.Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on June 19. Seniors Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah, have been rested for the T20I series. KL Rahul will lead the team in Rohit’s absence. Let’s look at six players to watch out for in the India-South Africa series.

1. Dinesh Karthik: There will be plenty of limelight on Dinesh Karthik, who recently turned 37. He had a stellar IPL 2022 season, smashing 330 runs in 16 matches for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) at a strike rate of 183.33. The selectors could not ignore his magnificent performance and have recalled him to the Indian team for the first time since 2019. DK will have to impress to remain in contention for a place in the T20 World Cup squad. A good series against South Africa for Karthik would put additional pressure on Rishabh Pant to perform. 

2. Kuldeep Yadav: The left-arm spinner was part of Team India’s white-ball assignments ahead of IPL 2022. However, he was just feeling his way back into the game after an injury layoff. Following an impressive IPL season for the Delhi Capitals (DC), during which he claimed 21 wickets in 14 matches at a strike rate of 14.19, there will be high expectations from him during the T20Is against South Africa. Can he live up to the hype?

3. Ruturaj Gaikwad: CSK opener Ruturaj Gaikwad scored 368 runs in 14 IPL 2022 matches at a strike rate of just over 126. He scored three half-centuries, including a 99, but most of them came during the second half of the tournament when Chennai’s fate was more or less sealed. Gaikwad hasn’t got as many opportunities in international cricket as he would have liked after a sensational IPL 2021 season. He will be keen to grab the chances if they come his way.

4. Deepak Hooda: The hard-hitting all-rounder has been around the circuit for a while now. Deepak Hooda even made an impressive white-ball debut for India ahead of the IPL. Representing the Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) in the T20 league, he was the most consistent batter for the franchise after KL Rahul. Hooda played some memorable stroke-filled knocks during the IPL. His dismissal against RCB turned the Eliminator even though Rahul was at the crease. Hooda will be keen to carry on his good form. 

5. David Miller: The South African big hitter was sensational for the Gujarat Titans (GT) as the debutant franchise lifted their maiden IPL title in their first attempt itself. David Miller has had his ups and downs in recent years, both in the IPL and at the international level. However, Hardik Pandya and the GT management placed their faith in him. He delivered, and how! The left-hander, who is only 32, though he seems to have been around forever, smashed 481 runs in 19 matches at a strike rate of 142.73. His knocks came under pressure situations, including in Qualifier 1 against RR. Miller and Hardik will now be in opposite camps!

6. Kagiso Rabada: South African speedster Kagiso Rabada had an average IPL season last year, which forced the Delhi Capitals (DC) to release him and instead retain the other Proteas bowler, Anrich Nortje. Rabada was purchased by the Punjab Kings (PBKS) and proved his worth with some fantastic bowling spells. He was the third-leading wicket-taker in IPL 2022, claiming 23 wickets in 13 matches at an exceptional strike rate of 12.52. Rabada is a rhythm bowler, and if he bowls in the same mode in the T20I series, he could put India in trouble, irrespective of the nature of the surfaces.

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