Selection headache for India ahead of the Centurion Test
The cricket expert Aakash Chopra raised questions on Shikhar Dhawan's inclusion in the first Test.
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It was the inaugural Test of the Freedom series, the expectations of the fans were touching cloud nine before India went down to the Proteas in a disappointing way. India decided to go with five proper batsmen on a pitch that was well suited for the quicks, expectedly the South African quicks caused havoc dismissing India for an insignificant 135 in the second innings.
The team management made some tough decisions by opting for Rohit Sharma over vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane and picking in-form opener Shikhar Dhawan ahead of KL Rahul who has a fantastic overseas record. India also handed a debut cap to Jasprit Bumrah, Bumrah ended up picking four prized scalps but the experts feel that Umesh Yadav should have played in his place after a brilliant home season.
Aakash Chopra has his say
Aakash Chopra wrote to Mid-day about the pitch at Centurion, according to him if the pitch suits the pacers at the SuperSport Park then India should not be too hesitant to leave Hardik Pandya out in place of a proper batsman. He believes that six proper batsmen are required on a pitch that has plenty to offer for the pacers. “Pandya’s performance has given India this sweet headache, for leaving him out would invite wrath of the supporters and experts (he was the highest scorer of the game from both sides) while playing him might mean compromising with the team combination that may be ideal for the pitch in Centurion, and what’s best suited for the team after the twin batting failure”, wrote Chopra.
The cricket expert also raised questions on Shikhar Dhawan‘s inclusion in the first Test. He believes that KL Rahul is better equipped to handle pace and bounce and he showed glimpses of his solid technique on a tour down under back in 2014-2015. “While he’s scored a lot of runs in all three formats since the Champions Trophy, the jury is out on his ability to play overseas,” he added.
“It’s important to remember that any corrective measures taken after the second Test might have no bearing on the outcome of this series”. The management needs to make tough calls ahead of the second test and the 40-year-old believes that a team which can drop its vice-captain can make tough decisions.
He also added that if Karun Nair can be dropped after a match-winning triple hundred against England then it’s no big deal to drop all-rounder Hardik Pandya in place of a proper batsman. India bowled tremendously in the first Test but their batting faltered at a time when it had to deliver.
This was India’s best chance to win a game in this Freedom series, the team will take positives away from this game and look to come back stronger in the second Test at the SuperSport Park, Centurion beginning tomorrow.