India fast bowler Avesh Khan has been added to the Team India squad for the second and final Test of the series against South Africa, the BCCI confirmed on Friday. Avesh was added as a replacement for Mohammed Shami, who was ruled out of the series due to injury. The visitors faced an innings-and-32-run loss to the Proteas in the first Test in Centurion, following an uninspired outing from the batting order. On Day 3, India were folded on 131, with Virat Kohli scoring more than half (76) of the runs for the side.
India’s performances with the ball also left a lot to be desired, as the side conceded 408 in the first innings. Barring Jasprit Bumrah – who picked four wickets – no other bowler looked threatening despite bowling-friendly conditions at the Centurion. Debutant Prasidh Krishna looked far from impressive, conceding 93 runs in 20 overs while picking a wicket, while Shardul Thakur was even more expensive, registering figures of 1/101 in just 19 overs.
Perhaps, that might have forced the team management’s hand to bring an extra pacer into the fold as India now aim at levelling the two-match series. Avesh has yet to make a Test appearance for India but was part of the recently concluded ODI series against South Africa, where he picked six wickets in three matches.
Avesh registered figures of 4/27 in the opening ODI, playing a crucial role as India bowled the Proteas out for merely 116.
The right-arm pacer has played in 8 ODIs and 19 T20Is so far, and while the Test cap has eluded him thus far, Avesh boasts an impressive first-class record with Madhya Pradesh. In 38 matches, the 27-year-old has picked 149 wickets at 22.65. His last first-class appearance came in July earlier this year, when he represented the Central Zone during the Deodhar Trophy.
Deemed the ‘final frontier’, South Africa remains the only Test-playing country where India are yet to win a series in the longest format. While the wait will now continue at least until India’s next tour to the Rainbow nation, Rohit Sharma’s men will certainly aim to avoid a series of defeats and draw in South Africa for the first time since 2011/12.