Following India’s defeat in the 1st Test against South Africa, the debate is more about team selection than it is about the shortcomings of the players. The decision to drop Vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane was taken with a pinch of salt by the classic Test cricket lovers. The decision of considering young Bumrah over experienced Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav also ruffled some feathers.
After the Indian batting failed the team on both occasions, some changes in the playing XI are obvious. Virat Kohli’s record of seldom going in with an unchanged XI also substantiates this claim. So, let us have a look at the 3 probable changes in the 2nd Test starting on Saturday.
If we are to take Kohli’s word that current form is the criteria for selection, Ishant should have featured in the 1st Test match itself. The new and improved version of Ishant Sharma has a lot more pace, guile and accuracy than before. His height and length (little short of good length) make him naturally suited for South African conditions.
Ishant is the only bowler in the Indian line-up who has already toured South Africa twice. His experience and newfound form can certainly serve the team. However, Pandya and Bumrah having cemented their spots, it is uncertain that who will make way for the lanky pacer.
Rahane’s exclusion in the 1st Test came as a shock to cricket pundits and fans. Despite his current slump in form, Rahane definitely deserves a place in the side. He has the best overseas average among the current lot of Indian batsmen.
By giving Rohit a nod ahead of Rahane, the team management has increased trouble for itself. Now dropping Rohit after failure in just one match will be unfair to him. However, Rahane has to be included in the side anyhow. Ashwin may have to sacrifice his spot for his vice-captain.
It is all but given than KL Rahul will make the playing XI in the 2nd Test. It is really unfortunate for a player of his class to miss out while he is in a good nick. Just last year he equaled the world record of seven Test 50s in consecutive innings.
On the other hand, Shikhar Dhawan has had a record of struggling on pitches that offer seam and pace. Newlands was no different for him, just that the mode of his dismissal changed. He got into a tangle on short pitched deliveries that were directed towards his ribs. It will not get any easier for the southpaw as Centurion is expected to be a bit more bouncy. It is almost certain that KL Rahul with a lot more compact technique will take Dhawan’s place.