India skipper Virat Kohli has found himself in a rather sticky situation after India struggled on the 1st day of the 2nd Test too, against South Africa. His decision to replace Bhuvneshwar Kumar with Ishant Sharma has especially attracted criticism from the cricket pundits. Former Indian cricketer and legend, Virender Sehwag, has overtly slammed Kohli’s decisions. Sehwag said that if Kohli fails in the 2nd Test in Centurion, “He should drop himself”.
When Virat Kohli announced that he had replaced Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who was the highest wicket-taker in the 1st Test, for Ishant Sharma, to bring in some extra bounce at the SuperSport Park in Centurion, people found the decision hard to digest.
Bhuvneshwar, the right-arm medium pacer bowled on point and gave a hard time to the Proteas top order in the 1st Test. His impeccable placement and performance with the new ball helped India restrict South Africa to 286.
But after facing a 72-run defeat in the first Test, India made a handful of changes instead of going further with the same promising combination. Entering the 2nd Test in Centurion, India opted for three changes in the playing Xl with – KL Rahul replacing Shikhar Dhawan, Parthiv Patel replacing an injured Wriddhiman Saha, and Ishant Sharma replacing Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Expressing bafflement on Virat Kohli’s team selection tactics, Virender Sehwag told India TV, that Team India captain should drop himself for the third Test, if he fails to deliver in Centurion. He said,
“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.”
Before the 1st Test, Ishant Sharma was in contention to start but was omitted owing to an injury. And considering his height and overseas experience, it was not too surprising to see Ishant come in the 2nd Test. However, Sehwag found it hard to understand that while Kohli has always maintained that team selection took the current player forms into consideration, what could have been the logic behind dropping Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Virender Sehwag said,
“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.”
Apart from Virender Sehwag, there were several other ex-cricketing geniuses who felt that the decision to drop Bhuvneshwar for Ishant was probably unnecessary. Former India cricketer and explosive batsman, VVS Laxman, wrote on his Twitter,
“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.”