India and South Africa meet in a one-off Twenty20 international at the Wanderers Stadium on Friday with India coach Duncan Fletcher insisting the long round trip will be worthwhile.
India arrived in Johannesburg on Wednesday with a near full strength T20 squad, with batsman Virender Sehwag and pace bowler Zaheer Khan the only key players being rested.
Superstar Sachin Tendulkar, reportedly receiving medical treatment in London, is not a regular T20 international player.
South Africa, by contrast, have picked only eight of the squad which won a T20 series in New Zealand last month, resting all their Test players with the exception of Jacques Kallis, who will be the recipient of a special tribute at the match.
The South African Test squad arrived back just over 48 hours ahead of the Wanderers game.
Cricket South Africa (CSA) will contribute to the Jacques Kallis Foundation, which provides scholarships for talented cricketers from under-privileged areas to attend leading cricket schools.
Kallis said he would, in turn, assist the Yuvraj Singh Foundation. India player Singh is being treated for cancer. Kallis’s father died of cancer in 2003.
The South African squad includes three uncapped players and will be captained by off-spinner Johan Botha in the absence of the regular captain AB de Villiers and vice-captain Hashim Amla, who both played in the Test series in New Zealand.
India, though, will be led as usual by Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Fletcher said the Indian team contained a significant number of young players.
“We’ve been trying to develop a young one-day squad and Twenty20 squad,” he said. “These blokes have played well on the subcontinent and any game they play out of it must be very good from an experience point of view.”
The announcement of the match was made as recently as March 5. It was one of the last acts of Gerald Majola before he was suspended as CSA chief executive following a judicial report on undeclared bonuses paid to him.
The game comes at the end of a long international season for both teams and only five days before the start of the Indian Premier League, which will feature most of the players involved this Friday. — AFP
South Africa: Johan Botha (capt), Farhaan Behardien, Faf du Plessis, Colin Ingram, Jacques Kallis, Richard Levi, Albie Morkel, Justin Ontong, Wayne Parnell, Rusty Theron, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Morne van Wyk (wk), Dane Vilas (wk)
India: MS Dhoni (capt, wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ashok Dinda, Gautam Gambhir, Ravindra Jadeja, Virat Kohli, Praveen Kumar, Vinay Kumar, Irfan Pathan, Yusuf Pathan, Suresh Raina, Rahul Sharma, Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, Robin Uthappa