The final Test between India and South Africa is set to begin on January 11 in Newlands, Cape Town. After an epic comeback in the Wanderers Test, the hosts have leveled the series 1-1. India have never won a Test series in the rainbow nation, and if they defeat the Proteas in the decider, Kohli and Co. will script history.
Kohli back as captain, Umesh replaces Siraj
Kohli replaced Vihari in the playing XI while injured Siraj made way for Umesh Yadav in the side. Many pundits were taken aback after Yadav got the call ahead of senior speedster Ishant Sharma. Sharma has featured in 105 Tests and has taken 311 scalps at an average of 32.41.
Despite being the most experienced player in the squad, Sharma has been well past his prime. Youngster Siraj proved his caliber in Australia and England and his sensational form forced Kohli to drop Sharma from the attack.
In the absence of Siraj, many expected that the team management will bank on Sharma’s experience in the do-or-die game. After the Delhi pacer was denied a spot in the Newlands Test, experts feel that the team has begun to think beyond Ishant.
Former Indian opener Wasim Jaffer recently said that he feels it will be very tough for the lanky pacer to break into the playing XI.
“If Bumrah, Shami and Siraj are fit, they are the first three seamers. Then you have Shardul and Umesh. Shardul is an all-rounder now so that makes him choose ahead [of other bowlers]. So, definitely, for Ishant, it will be difficult,” Jaffer told .
Jaffer believes it will be tough for Sharma
He further added that Sharma might get opportunities rarely if the top pacers are rested in a match and players at the bench are rotated.
“Obviously, when you are on long tours, the top seamers will be rested or the line-up will be rotated and probably then a place for Ishant will open up. In that case, he will play a few games,”.
Ishant Sharma : An Unsung Hero
Ishant Sharma has been an unsung hero in India’s sensational rise in Tests cricket in overseas conditions. Sharma being a seasoned campaigner has always guided his teammates and was part of the deadly pace trio of Shami-Bumrah-Sharma. He might not have been amongst a lot of wickets yet his consistent line and length have set up batters to lose their concentration. Ishant is the only second fast bowler after legendary Kapil Dev to have played more than 100 Tests.
Many cricket pundits like Jaffer feel that Sharma is at the end of the line of his career.
“But I feel for somebody like Ishant Sharma, who has played over 100 Tests and taken over 300 wickets, I don’t think that is right. So, somewhere I feel he will take a call after the South Africa series. I am sure, he must be thinking about this too,” Jaffer concluded.”
For more updates, follow us on Twitter.