Virat Kohli sparked quite a few controversies over team selection after India's loss in Centurion. While cricketer experts Bhuvneshwar Kumar to be included as the second Test as well, they also expected Ajinkya Rahane to get a game in place of Rohit Sharma being on overseas Test specialist for India.
However, like many who were surprised to see them both miss out, former West Indian great Michael Holding was left shocked.
In a statement released by CricketNext, “I am very surprised that Bhuvneshwar was dropped after what he did in Cape Town, but I am just as surprised that Rahane was not played. His record overseas is better than most. I don’t know enough about Rohit Sharma (to get into the debate on whether he should be playing in place of Rahane) and some of the other guys. See, I only see India play Test cricket when they come to England and then in South Africa. That is why it will not be fair for me to comment much on other people."
“And to be honest, what I have seen of Rahane, he seems to me to be a very good player. I was just surprised to not see him in the XI and the same thing with Bhuvneshwar. I think he is a very good bowler and I was surprised that he was not in the XI,” added Holding.
Holding also said that this Indian team has bits and pieces players who perform individually and not accumulatively for the team. Holding added that India has got the pace attack to dismiss the South African batsmen but lacks the zing in the batting line up to win them matches.
“The Indians have the bowling to pick 20 wickets and win Test matches. And I am saying that from the very first Test match in Cape Town. I have no problem with the Indian bowling, but will the batsmen put runs on the board? From the very first day in Cape Town, I have been saying that. It is up to the batsmen to get the runs on the board and then the bowlers will do their job,” he reiterated.
He came down severely on Ishant Sharma and his performance in the second Test match.“Ishant, if you remember, what was this? His 80th Test match? He used to do it (lead the pack) in his younger days. He will not run through sides for the entire career. It is time for the younger guys to come up and pick up the slab, be the frontline bowler and allow him to be the support bowler,” the 63-year-old said.
“If you have four good fast bowlers, you should play them. Our philosophy that made us successful was that we picked the best bowlers and all four were fast bowlers. Gibson has picked four very good fast bowlers, but he has also picked a spinner and I think Keshav Maharaj is a very good bowler. He feels he has the batting to win Test matches with five bowlers and there is nothing wrong in that because at times you will need a spinner. You don’t want to pick a spinner just for the sake of saying that you have a spinner and the so-called balance of the team. But yes, Maharaj is a good spinner and then there are four good fast bowlers, so pick them,” he concluded.