SA v IND 2018: Reports suggest Ishant’s illness enabled Bhuvneshwar Kumar to play in Cape Town Test

Bhuvneshwar Kumar picked 4 wickets in first innings of Cape Town Test.

Team management chose Ishant Sharma over Bhuvneshwar Kumar for the first Test | Getty

Bhuvneshwar Kumar rattled the South African batting line up on the first day of first Test at Cape Town, picking three quick wickets. He went on to pick 4/87 and 2/33 in the match and was one of the most impressive Indian bowlers in the match.

However, now according to reports of Times of India, Bhuvneshwar might not have earned those accolades, if Ishant Sharma had not fallen ill on the eve of the toss before the first Test. The report stated that Ishant Sharma woke up with severe headache and fever on the morning of the Test.

As the team management had already confirmed Bumrah’s Test debut, they had to choose between Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Bhuvneshwar got the nod to play. Bhuvneshwar reduced the Proteas batting to 12/3 on the first day. He also scored 25 and 13* with the bat in both innings, supporting Hardik Pandya in the first innings.

Bumrah on the other hand went for a few runs in the first innings, taking 1/73. But he bounced back in the second innings, picking 3/39, removing AB de Villiers, Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis.

Jasprit Bumrah gave India an outside chance in the Test

“His [Bumrah’s] clarity of mind is everything about him,” sources who have seen Bumrah from close quarters were quoted as saying. “The only thing that Bumrah does off the field is focus on how he bowled, and how he should have bowled. The best thing about him is his ability to distance himself from any kind of distraction.”  

If the report is true, it has to be one of the most baffling and unreasonable thing that the team management opted for. Bhuvneshwar recently picked 8 wickets in the Kolkata Test against Sri Lanka, including 4/8 in the second innings, almost giving India a sniff at victory.

In this scenario, how could this Indian team management think of leaving out their best swing and seam bowler? Selection of Ishant Sharma over Jasprit Bumrah is sensible, but dropping Bhuvneshwar Kumar for Ishant warrants some concrete reasoning.

By Jatin Sharma - 11 Jan, 2018

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