After India's batting was heavily criticized following the 72-run loss to South Africa in the first Test match at Cape Town, the team management is all set to make some changes in the playing XI. But before talking about these changes and five big players to watch out in the second Test, we would also like to talk about the pitch factor at SuperSport Park, Centurion.
The pitch at Newlands, Centurion has something in it for batsmen and bowlers but the pitch at SuperSport Park aids more pace and bounce, which will be more favourable for batsmen. It’s a good batting wicket and there have been a lot of high scores here.
Now coming on to those chief changes, KL Rahul is likely to get the recall in the playing XI at the expense of Shikhar Dhawan, after the southpaw's failure in both innings and talking about the five players to watch out for in the second Test, Rahul is one of them.
The 25-year-old Karnataka-based lad always seemed in good touch barring the last Test match he played against Sri Lanka in Nagpur where he scored only 7 runs in the first innings and did not get the chance to bat in the second innings. Apart from this poor innings, KL Rahul is a brilliant Test player which we have seen during the Australian tour where he scored his maiden century in his Test debut. And according to his current form in Test cricket he would be surely a better pick than Shikhar Dhawan.
On number 2, we have Virat Kohli
The level of player he is, we don’t really need to talk about his numbers. The skipper who failed to show his home form in the first Test will without any doubt look to bounce back and will lead the team from the front. The 29-year-old is known for his comebacks. We have seen him falling out early in the first innings in many Tests but the 29-year-old is known for his comebacks which we did not see in the second innings as well. So, he will certainly try to perform in the second Test according to his splendid form.
On number 3, there is Kagiso Rabada
The SuperSport Park might be more batting pitch but we are well aware about the capabilities of Kagiso Rabada. The 22-year-old speedster gets the breakthrough for the team whenever needed. He can be equally dangerous on the batting pitch as well.
Rabada recently claimed the no.1 position in the ICC Test rankings, as he picked 5 wickets in the first Test and is on fire. Thus, he is also a player to watch out.
On number 4, we have Cheteshwar Pujara
Cheteshwar Pujara, the new wall of Indian Test team, remained quiet with the bat in both the innings of first Test, which is totally opposite to his batting stats as he is well-known of giving India solidity at the top. Pujara, who is currently at no.5 position in the Test rankings, will truly try to justify his position in the second Test. The other thing to notice about the 29-year-old is that he has scored only one century away from home out of his 14 centuries. So, he is definitely a player to watch out in the second Test.
On number 5, we have Bhuvneshwar Kumar
The last player in our 5 players list is the Indian swing champion Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Bhuvi, who picked 6 wickets in first Test, was not the part of playing XI earlier. The most experienced bowler in the Indian squad Ishant Sharma was all set to play the first Test but when Ishant woke up with a severe headache, bordering on the feverish on the morning of the match, Bhuvi got the chance to play in place of him. The 27-year-old Bhuvi took 6 wickets and cemented his place in the eleven going forward. Ishant's loss turned out to be his gain.
He was the only silver lining from the Cape Town Test, India will rely heavily on this UP led to knock out the Proteas.
About the Author
Shekhar Dhingra is a sports journalist with 1.5 years of experience, having worked with sports business website "Market4Sports". He resides in New Delhi and is a die-hard sports fan with special affection for cricket and badminton. He desperately waits for weekend to relax his soul by playing cricket.