Umesh Yadav can replace Shardul Thakur at Johannesburg: Gautam Gambhir | Cricket News

NEW DELHI: Former Indian opener Gautam Gambhir feels that the Indian team should have scored more than 400 runs in the first Test against South Africa at Centurion, especially after the start given by the openers.
In his column for the Times of India, Gambhir wrote, “I returned from Switzerland on Sunday evening. I was also keeping a tab on Indian team’s first Test in South Africa. India played some good cricket but in patches. Batting wise I would have loved to see them score 400-plus in the first innings after a solid start by KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal. The middle-order should have contributed more.”
India completed a 113-run win on the fifth day at SuperSport Park in Centurion. Chasing 305 to win, South Africa were bowled out for 191 on Day 5.
“Yes, India came back strongly with their bowling performance, but I won’t be jumping up and down with the result. Scoreboards will not tell you the whole story but as a proud sportsperson, Indians would know that they were hardly challenged. This is perhaps one of the weakest batting group that has represented South Africa. Test cricket demands top class skills to play the moving ball. I may be jumping the gun here but perhaps this South African batting lot seem work in progress for Test matches,” Gambhir added.
Despite the Wanderers being renowned as a ground favouring fast bowlers, India have performed consistently well in Johannesburg. India are yet to be beaten in a Test match at the Wanderers and have a record of two wins and three draws since their first tour of South Africa in 1992/93.
“Johannesburg will pose stiffer challenges for the batsmen. On this ground which is located on a higher altitude there is pace and bounce. India should continue to be relentless. I read somewhere that India may consider going in with four bowlers instead of five in the second Test match. This is being contemplated to accommodate Hanuma Vihari or Shreyas Iyer. I just hope this is pure media speculation and not a serious thought by the Indian think tank. Personally I would be inclined to play Umesh Yadav in place of Shardul Thakur. Umesh’s raw speed with control is his biggest strength and that is what Kohli would need,” Gambhir opined.
Injuries aside, India are unlikely to change their team, though the form of batsmen Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane remains under scrutiny.
“I wasn’t too keen to play Rahane in the first game. But with decent 48 in the first innings perhaps he would have won himself a place in second Test match too. I’d continue with Cheteshwar Pujara at No. 3. A lot is being said about Virat Kohli‘s dismissals in the first Test match. I think some of it is unfounded and creates unnecessary chaos. Kohli has been exceptional in his run-making for India, he just needs to leave lot more balls outside the off-stump and buy time,” Gambhir signed off.

Source link