Indian pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who scalped 6-wicket haul besides scoring 25 and 13* in the two innings of Cape Town Test, was astonishingly snubbed from the playing XI of second Test against South Africa at SuperSport Park Centurion on Saturday (January 13). Bhuvi got replaced the lanky speedster Ishant Sharma.
India made three changes to their playing XI in the second Test, with KL rahul replacing Shikhar Dhawan and wicket-keeper batsman Wriddhiman Saha making way for Parthiv Patel being the other two. However, Bhuvneshwar’s axing was unexpected given the seamer’s ability to swing the ball both ways. The decision of India’s team management certainly took the Twitter world by storm as some of the renowned cricket journalists and former cricketers criticized the move.
One player gave you a chance in Capetown. And he won't be bowling at South Africa. #BhuvaneswarKumar— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) January 13, 2018
Bhuvi not in the team?!!!???? My office is open for explanations.— Gaurav Kapur (@gauravkapur) January 13, 2018
Bhuvi’s form comes with ‘conditions apply’. Since the pitch is expected to offer more bounce than lateral movement...therefore, Ishant plays. #SAvsIND— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) January 13, 2018
What's Bhuvneshwar Kumar done wrong?!— Lawrence Booth (@the_topspin) January 13, 2018
"Perception isn't the truth but it's bigger than truth these days" And may be that's why Bhuvi isn't a part of playing 11. #IndvSAonSonyTen3— R P Singh (@RpSingh99) January 13, 2018
Not only his bowling but his lower order batting contribution will be missed too #bhuvneshwarkumar— Irfan Pathan (@IrfanPathan) January 13, 2018
Bhuvneshwar Kumar dropped, means Jasprit Bumrah takes the new ball. Not only was Bhuvi India's best bowler in Cape Town, he also lasted longer at the crease than ANYONE else: 127 balls: #SAvIND— Anand Vasu (@anandvasu) January 13, 2018
The other two changes made by India were more or less on expected lines but dropping Kumar was a bit extreme given the way he unleashed havoc on the hosts with his fiery spell (4 for 87) in the first innings of Newlands Test.
As far as South Africa’s team combination is concerned – the home team walked the talk of fielding four pacers, blooding Ngidi in place of the injured Dale Steyn with rest of the team being same as the last match.
South Africa won the toss and elected to bat in the second Test. Indian captain Virat Kohli certainly looked a bit disappointed to lose the toss on what seemed to be a much browner pitch than anticipated.
“We’d have batted as well. There seems to be a lot lesser grass. Day one first session is always tough for the batsmen but we wanted to take that challenge,” Kohli said after the toss.
India's Playing XI:
Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli(c), Rohit Sharma, Parthiv Patel (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma
South Africa's Playing XI:
Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis(c), Quinton de Kock (wk), Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Lungisani Ngidi, Morne Morkel