India’s limited overs specialist pacer Jasprit Bumrah has earned his maiden birth in India’s Test squad for the tour of South Africa. Additionally, Parthiv Patel has been named in the 17-man squad as the backup wicketkeeper.
Jasprit Bumrah’s outstanding run in the colored clothing has been rewarded and considering the assisting nature of the surfaces in the rainbow nation, he could be a handful for the side. MSK Prasad, chairman of the selection committee, said at a press conference in New Delhi that it was a unanimous decision to pick him.
“If you see Bumrah’s performance in the last 18 months, it’s been wonderful. He’s been sensational, bowling outstandingly well in both one-dayers and T20s. Considering his performance in Ranji Trophy last season, he bowled brilliantly that whole season. It’s a unanimous choice, there were no doubts in picking Bumrah because he definitely adds variety to our pace attack. And considering the nature of wickets there (in South Africa), it will definitely suit his bowling,” Prasad said.
Parthiv makes a return
On the other hand, Parthiv makes a return to the side after featuring in 3 Tests against England last year in the absence of Wriddhiman Saha. He scored 42, 67*, 15 and 71 in the 4 innings and made a strong case for himself. But Saha’s return led to his exclusion but due to the longevity of the South African tour, he has been picked as the backup.
“When you go to South Africa, you need two wicketkeepers. We cannot take a chance. When we gave him (Parthiv Patel) a chance against England, he performed beyond our expectations. Even if you see his domestic performances, he has been equally good. He is the second best option we have right now. So there’s no two way about it.” Prasad added.
Apart from these 2, all the regular Test players have been retained. Hardik Pandya has been trusted to play the all-rounder’s role after his scintillating start in whites against Sri Lanka earlier this year. Prasad believes that the team has a lot of potential and is perhaps the best ever to tour South Africa.
“The players have selected themselves. Everybody is in very good form. I think this is the best balanced (Indian) side that has ever gone to South Africa. I’m sure they will really do well,” Prasad concluded.
Virat Kohli will have his toughest challenge as the skipper so far and the men in blue will be eager to do well. The No.1 Test side will face South Africa in 3 Tests starting from January 5. The Test series will be followed by 6 ODIs and 3 T20Is.
India’s squad for the South Africa Tests
Virat Kohli (c), Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vc), Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Parthiv Patel, Jasprit Bumrah
Fixtures for Test Series:
January 5-9: 1st Test match, Cape Town
January 13-17: 2nd Test match, Centurion
January 24-28: 3rd Test match, Johannesburg