South Africa and India started off the second test match yesterday at Centurion, however, the headlines on Day 1 were surrounding Kohli’s team selection at the toss. While the inclusion of Parthiv was due to an injury sustained by Saha, it was the removal of Shikhar Dhawan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar from the starting XI that shocked the majority, including Sunil Gavaskar.
Just like everyone else, former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar expressed his displeasure at the exclusion of Shikhar Dhawan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar from the playing XI. According to Gavaskar, Dhawan’s head is always ready for the chop and this time he has been made into a scapegoat.
Dhawan who enjoyed a stellar 2017 at home, struggled to find his feet in the 1st test, hence he was replaced by KL Rahul. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar case is much more mysterious, given that he took the highest number of wickets for India and faced the most balls for his side in the 1st test match. He was replaced by an experienced Ishant Sharma, who might be able to extract that extra bounce from the pitch.
Gavaskar feels Dhawan is always sacrificed
Speaking of Kohli’s decision to drop Dhawan and Kumar, Gavaskar said, “I think Shikhar Dhawan is the ‘Bali ka Bakra’ (scapegoat). His head is always on the chopping board. He just needs one bad inning and he is out of the team.”
As reported by Crictracker, Gavaskar further added, “I also don’t understand why Ishant came in for. Bhuvneshwar when he had taken three wickets on the opening day at Cape Town. Ishant could have replaced Shami or Bumrah but leaving him out, I don’t understand.”
Virat Kohli however, did clear the question regarding Ajinkya Rahane’s continued absence from the starting XI. Rahane has been one of the most consistent Indian batsman on foreign, which is why some people are baffled to see him on the sidelines. Speaking on the same, Kohli said, “playing XI is not decided as per outside opinion”.
Well Indian’s did well to reduce the South Africans to 269/6 at Stumps on Day 1, and we will have to wait for another 4 days of play before we find out whether these changes really worked or are we back to square one?