Gavaskar, Pathan want India to make series-saving change for 2nd SA Test | Cricket


One can often be left in two minds over their strategy for the next game after having suffered a humiliating innings defeat in their opener to stand on the verge of a series loss, but former India cricketers Sunil Gavaskar and Irfan Pathan did not hesitate an inch to admit that they would want captain Rohit Sharma and head coach Rahul Dravid to make a change in their playing XI after the result in Centurion last week. India, backed to end their 31 years of drought in the rainbow nation, of not winning a single Test series in South Africa, lost by an innings and 32 runs in their first match of the two-game series. With the series on the line, Gavaskar called for two changes while Pathan for one, for the final match, slated to begin on January 3 in Cape Town.

Should India make any changes in their playing XI for the second Test?
Should India make any changes in their playing XI for the second Test?

India missed the services of Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma last week at the SuperSport Park as the bowlers conceded 408 runs against South Africa. Shami was ruled out of the series owing to his chronic left heel issue, while Ishant, a veteran of 100 Tests, is far from reckoning to make a comeback in the format. In their absence, India looked at their bench strength as Prasidh Krishna was handed a debut cap in Centurion. But the fast bowler’s shoddy performance, a solitary wicket in 20 overs after giving away 98 runs, was subject to immense criticism.

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The bowling coach later worked extensively with Krishna in an optional session at the SuperSport Park on December 30. Mhambrey had his entire focus on Krishna during the 75-odd minutes that he bowled at the nets as he worked on his lengths. Prasidh was also present at the nets on Monday in Cape Town, bowling in tandem alongside Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj.

While it might give a hint at India wanting to retain the youngster for the second game, but Gavaskar and Pathan, speaking to Star Sports, felt that Mukesh Kumar, who made his debut in the tour of West Indies, should be picked as the third seamer. The former India all-rounder also added the possibility of adding Avesh Khan, who was added to the squad ahead of the second Test.

While Pathan restricted himself to making one change in the XI, Gavaskar felt that Ashwin should make way for fit-again Ravindra Jadeja in the XI. He said: “Ashwin was hardly used in the previous game.”

Jadeja had complained of pain in his upper back on the morning of the first Test and hence Ashwin was picked in the XI, but the all-rounder looked fit on returning to the training nets last week in Centurion. He bowled for close to 45 minutes alongside Ashwin and looked impresive while batting as well.

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