When fans are sceptical about a particular situation, they turn to cricket experts and analysts. But what is to be done when even the greatest pundits fail to predict what lies ahead? Captain Virat Kohli and the team management’s strange team selection decisions have left both the fans and the experts befuddled. No one has been able to hit the bull’s eye in the first two Tests when it comes to predicting the playing XI.
Still, it is our duty to keep trying and we shall continue to perform the same as we suggest three probable changes in the Indian playing XI in the 3rd Test between India and South Africa.
India had to turn to Parthiv Patel in the 2nd Test after Wriddhiman Saha suffered a hamstring injury. The team management was sceptical of their decision as Patel had a track record of being a sloppy keeper. All of their fears turned to reality when the Gujarat keeper dropped a plethora of catches in the 2nd Test.
It is almost certain that Patel would have to make way for Dinesh Karthik as India can not afford to give the Proteas too many chances. Karthik will return to international Test cricket after seven long years. He has been awarded for his consistent performances in the domestic circuit.
Bhuvneshwar and Ishant have been vying with each other for a spot in the side. After Ishant fell sick prior to the 1st Test, Bhuvi grabbed his opportunity with both hands as he picked up six wickets in the match. With Ishant back in the pink of health and in conditions devoid of movement, he reclaimed his place in the 2nd Test. As a result, Bhuvneshwar was benched.
This decision came as a surprise since Bhuvi had been the pick of the bowlers in Cape Town. However, Ishant justified his selection by picking up five wickets and bowling measured line and lengths. Now, with a lively pitch in Wanderers and conditions that suit swing bowling, Bhuvneshwar is all set to stage a comeback.
Ajinkya Rahane’s exclusion from the side has been the biggest riddle of the tour. Dropping the team’s vice-captain is unprecedented in the history of the game. Rahane has been one batsman whom India have turned to in overseas conditions. He also has the highest average among Indian batsmen on foreign soil.
After scoring 93 in the first innings at Cape Town, Pandya has not been able to pull off something extraordinary. Moreover, when the team needed him to occupy the crease in the 2nd Test, he threw his wicket away in both the innings. Pandya, for no fault of his, is disturbing the team’s balance. It would be a better bet to go in with an extra batsman in the form of Rahane as opposed to a rookie all-rounder.