With the long and entertaining season of Indian Premier League 2022 coming to an end last month, it’s time to see the action moving to the international arena, where India is scheduled to play a five-match T20I series against South Africa. 

Although there are a few more T20I series lined up before the upcoming T20I World Cup, the five-match series against South Africa will be keenly watched by the selectors and the head coach Rahul Dravid. With Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, and Rohit Sharma rested, the onus will be on the others to deliver. 

KL Rahul will be the leading the side, and even though there’s no sword hanging over him, the outcome of the series will have a massive effect on his prospect to become a full-time captain.

Here are the five names you need to keep an eye out for in the India vs South Africa T20I Series:

1. Umran Malik

Let’s be honest here. We are all excited to see Umran Malik in the blue jersey, bouncing and roughing up the opponents with his breathtaking pace. The Indian team rarely had a bowler who can clock in excess of 150kph with such ease and regularity. Every time he stepped on the field this season, Umran delivered the fastest ball of the match. He finished the IPL 2022 with 14 wickets, and his five-wicket haul against Gujarat Titans has already entered the folklore. 

2. Hardik Pandya

Even though Indian cricket has become an over-resourced powerhouse, they are yet to stumble upon a player who can bowl at an express pace and is quite handy with a bat. In short, there’s only one Hardik Pandya. Heading into the IPL 2022, one of the main concerns for fans was his form and fitness. Pandya, however, silenced his critics with a brilliant all-round effort and led Gujarat Titans to the IPL title in their maiden season. 

3. Dinesh Karthik

It has been a season of comebacks, but none as emphatic and influential as Dinesh Karthik’s in the IPL 2022. Plying his trade for Royal Challengers Bangalore, Karthik played the role of finisher to perfection, giving a perfect reminder to Team India of what they had missed in the last edition of the World Cup. He finished the season with over 300 runs at a strike rate of 183.

4. Arshdeep Singh

If the number of wickets is the yardstick here, Arshdeep has had a pretty average season, where he claimed 10 wickets in 14 games. But if you’ve watched him operate, you’d know the 23-year-old was far more influential for his team than the wicket column suggests. Even though Punjab had a veteran fast bowler in Kagiso Rabada, they saved Arshdeep to bowl the most challenging overs of the game, and he did his job with perfection.

5. Shreyas Iyer

Shreyas Iyer didn’t have a great campaign in the IPL 2022, and weird as it may sound, that’s the exact reason why he is on this list. The upcoming weeks will largely determine his future in the shortest format of the game. 

Just a week preceding the IPL, Shreyas Iyer made a resounding comeback to the national side in the T20I series against West Indies, but his forms fizzled out during the tournament. If Iyer fails to convince this time, the selectors won’t waste any time looking for other options.

Featured Image Credit: Royal Challengers Bangalore/ BCCI