New Delhi: Former Indian opener Virender Sehwag lashed out at Virat Kohli for his team selection for the ongoing second Test against South Africa and didn’t mince his words when he asked him to, “drop himself” if he fails to make a mark in Centurion.
After a 72-run loss at the hands of the hosts in Cape Town, three changes were made by the Indians in the playing XI for the second test. Opener Shikhar Dhawan made way for KL Rahul and Bhuvneshwar Kumar was replaced by Ishant Sharma. Wicket-keeper batsman Parthiv Patel too came into the side replacing Wriddhiman Saha who was out with a side strain.
“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 if he fails to perform in Centurion,” said Sehwag in an interaction with India TV.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar was one of India’s stars with the ball in the lost Test match in Cape Town as he bagged three early wickets on the first day and ended with match figures of 6/120. He also scored a handy 25 runs in the first innings.
“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,” Sehwag added further.
After enjoying a string of success in Test cricket for the past two years that saw Kohli and his men romp to nine consecutive series wins, India’s unscathed record is under jeopardy and they would aim to win the match in Centurion at any cost to keep the series alive.
Gavaskar criticises Dhawan’s exclusion for Centurion Test
The legendary Sunil Gavaskar, earlier had criticised India’s team selection for the second Test saying that Shikhar Dhawan’s, “head is always on the chopping board.”
He said “I think Shikhar Dhawan is the ‘Bali ka Bakra’ (scapegoat). His head is always on the chopping board. He just needs one bad innings and he is out of the team.
“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.”
VVS Laxman and Allan Donald too expressed surprise at Bhuvneshwar’s exclusion. Laxman tweeted, “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.”
Donald too expressed his surprise on Twitter as he felt that leaving someone like Bhuvneshwar out of a crucial game like this is equivalent to leaving out Vernon Philander from the South African team.
“Don’t understand how you can leave a bowler out that don’t have more bounce than a taller bowler @ImIshant. @BhuviOfficial has so much skill and accuracy that he brings. It’s like leaving out @VDP_24!,” tweeted Donald.