Indian captain Virat Kohli has put himself in the bad books of cricket critics and pundits ever since making some shocking changes in the Indian team for the second Test against South Africa. As India look to bounce back at the Centurion in the second all-important Test encounter, former Indian explosive opener Virender Sehwag has openly slammed Virat’s decision to drop Bhuvneshwar Kumar for Ishant Sharma. “He should drop himself” if he fails in the Centurion Test reckoned Sehwag while analysing team India’s chances in the match.
Kohli bowled yet another bouncer after the toss at the SuperSport Park in Centurion when he announced that Bhuvneshwar, who finished with 6 wickets in the Cape Town Test has been dropped for Ishant Sharma for some extra bounce. The right-arm medium pacer ran through the Proteas top order in the first innings to help India restrict the host to 286. Coming into the second game at Centurion after facing a 72-run defeat in the first Test, India opted for three changes in the playing Xl with KL Rahul replacing Shikhar Dhawan, Parthiv Patel coming in for injured Wriddhiman Saha and Ishant Sharma getting the nod ahead of Bhuvneshwar.
Questioning Virat Kohli’s team selection, Sehwag told India TV that the Indian skipper should drop himself for the third Test if he fails to deliver in Centurion. “Watching Virat Kohli excluding Shikhar Dhawan for just one Test failure, and Bhuvneshwar for no reason at all, Kohli should drop himself in the third Test at Centurion, if he fails to perform in Centurion,” said Sehwag.
Earlier in the first Test, it was Ishant who was in contention to start but was sidelined due to an injury. Getting him back in the second Test wasn’t a surprising decision from Virat considering his height and overseas experience. However, the Delhi batsman has always maintained that the team selection is largely focused on the current forms of the players and not the past record. In this case, it was unfair to be dropped on Bhuvi’s part felt Sehwag.
“Excluding Bhuvneshwar wasn’t the right decision. Citing that Ishant might benefit with his height, Virat Kohli has hurt Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s self-confidence. They could have played Ishant in place of any other bowler.
Bhuvneshwar performed well in Cape Town and excluding him like this isn’t justified,” said the former Indian opener.
It was not just Sehwag who felt Kohli was wrong to drop Bhuvneshwar for Ishant, several cricket pundits shared their views on the move and expressed their disagreement. “I am surprised not to find Bhuvi in the playing XI today. In the first test, he took the most number of wickets (6 wickets)showing skill in using the new ball & batted quite well showing patience and resilience. Am I missing something here,” wrote VVS Laxman.
Here are some reactions:
Iam surprised not to find Bhuvi in the playing XI today. In the first test,he took the most number of wickets (6 wickets)showing skill in using the new ball & batted quite well showing patience nd resilience.Am I missing something here 🤔
— VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) January 13, 2018
What I find commendable is that India are playing five bowlers in this Test too. Defeat at Cape Town hasn't forced defensiveness. That's a sign of strong intent and self-belief
— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) January 13, 2018
Staggered by the exclusion of Bhuvaneswar. Staggered.
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) January 13, 2018
After starting off fine in the first day of the second Test in Centurion, South Africa ended the day on 269/6 in ninety overs. Opener Markram’s 94 and Amla’s 82 ensured a good total on board for the hosts before the end of the play on day one. Keshav Maharaj and Quinton de Kock will start the 2nd day’s play for South Africa. Ashwin was the pick of Indian bowlers as he scalped three wickets in the first innings.