The Indian team management is in all likelihood will make two to three changes in the second Test against South Africa at SuperSport Park Centurion on Saturday (January 13). As per the reports in PTI, wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha and opener Shikhar Dhawan are likely to be axed from the playing XI whereas lanky pacer Ishant Sharma could be considered in place of Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
It is learnt that KL Rahul will partner Murali Vijay as an opener instead of Dhawan while Parthiv Patel will replace Saha as a wicketkeeper-batsman. The conditions in Centurion might not aid swing bowling and Bhuvi, who scalped 6 wickets in the Newlands Test besides scoring a gritty 25, could make way for Ishant.
While the Ishant-Bhuvneshwar change is still not confirmed, the other two changes are more or less inevitable. The 32-year-old Parthiv Patel last played against England in the 2016 series at home when Saha was injured and the glovesman has done exceedingly well, scoring 195 runs in 4 innings at an average of 65.
"The team management understands that they need to shore up the batting. Apart from his [Parthiv Patel] 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 Friday (January 12).
Parthiv is deemed as a fine backfoot player and it is imperative to have a good backfoot game to succeed on the South Africa pitches.
On the other hand, Rahul has already proved his mettle at the Test level, scoring 1428 runs at an average of 44.62 with four hundreds and 10 half-centuries. The stylish right-hander is among the only three Indian batsmen, who has recorded centuries across all three formats.