India vs South Africa: Bhuvneshwar Kumar set to be dropped; Parthiv might replace Saha in 2nd Test

The Indian team management is all set to drop wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha and opener Shikhar Dhawan from the playing XI for the second Test against South Africa

PTI, January 12, 2018

New Delhi: The Indian team management is all set to drop wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha and opener Shikhar Dhawan from the playing XI for the second Test against South Africa but chances of Ajinkya Rahane's comeback look highly unlikely.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar collected a wicket off each of his first three overs on Day 1 of the first Test. Reuters

File image of Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Reuters

It is learnt that the conditions in Centurion may not aid swing bowling and Ishant Sharma could be considered in place of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, despite his six-wicket match haul and a gritty 25 in the first Test.

However, the Ishant-Bhuvneshwar swap is still not confirmed even though the other two changes are more or less certain.

Pint-sized Gujarat wicketkeeper-batsman Parthiv Patel, who is universally acknowledged as a far more accomplished batsman than Saha, is set to get a look-in along with Karnataka opener KL Rahul.

Dhawan's susceptible technique in bouncy and seaming conditions has been under the scanner and Rahul, who had hit his maiden Test hundred in Australia, is considered to be more well equipped technically.

Parthiv last played against England and scored 195 runs in three Test matches, when Saha was injured.

"The team management understands that they need to shore up the batting. Apart from his 878 Test runs in 23 Tests, his first-class average is phenomenal.

He has more than 10,000 runs with 26 centuries. The team management couldn't have possibly avoided that," a senior BCCI official, who is privy to team management's decision, told PTI on Monday.

Parthiv is known to be a better backfoot player compared to Saha and can hit horizontal bat shots well unlike the Bengal player, whose frontfoot trigger movement makes him a possible leg-before candidate.

In the case of Dhawan, the team management at last seemed to have understood that he does not have the technique to play short-pitched stuff coming at a lively pace, as it was evident in both innings at Cape Town, where he was not in control of the pull shots.

For the team management, Dhawan can be be a good choice in Mumbai, Delhi or Colombo but not in Brisbane, Headingley or Cape Town.

Rahul, on the other hand, has till now played 21 Tests, scoring 1428 runs at an average of 44.62 with four hundreds and 10 half-centuries. He is among the only three Indian batsmen in international cricket, who has got hundreds across all formats, apart from Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma.

The logic behind bringing back Ishant is his ability to bowl long spells to the tune of 11-12 overs, and the team management is well aware that the kookaburra seam wears out easily.

Mohammed Shami, with his eternal dodgy knee and Jasprit Bumrah, with a stressful action, needs to be used judiciously.

For Bhuvneshwar, the conditions become paramount and Ishant could be used more as a restrictive option rather than an attacking one.

Updated Date: Jan 13, 2018

T20 LEAGUE POINTS TABLE

Pos. Team P W L D Pts.
1
Hyderabad
14 9 5 0 18
2
Chennai
14 9 5 0 18
3
Kolkata
14 8 6 0 16
4
Rajasthan
14 7 7 0 14
5
Mumbai
14 6 8 0 12
6
Bangalore
14 6 8 0 12
7
Punjab
14 6 8 0 12
8
Delhi
14 5 9 0 10




Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3499 125
2 South Africa 3589 112
3 Australia 3499 106
4 New Zealand 2354 102
5 England 3511 98
6 Sri Lanka 2914 94
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 5257 125
2 India 5492 122
3 South Africa 3842 113
4 New Zealand 4602 112
5 Australia 3327 104
6 Pakistan 3279 102
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 2990 130
2 Australia 1894 126
3 India 3932 123
4 New Zealand 2542 116
5 England 1951 115
6 South Africa 2058 114