SA vs Ind – 2nd Test – Rohit Sharma – ‘Prasidh Krishna has ability to succeed at this level’


Ravindra Jadeja is fit and available for selection, giving India more batting depth and options when it comes to bowling combinations. He is also the only left-hand batter outside opener Yashasvi Jaiswal. Jadeja had missed the first Test with spasms in the upper back on the morning of the match.
While confirming Jadeja’s return to fitness, Rohit Sharma spoke of the importance of not judging inexperienced bowlers too harshly. “Although we’ve had a brief chat with the management, the coaching staff about what we want from this game, and what we want from the bowlers in this game, we’ve not completely finalised our playing XI. Everyone is available for selection. There’s no injury concern. All of them who are here are available to play. We’ll sit down in the evening and decide what is the right one.

“Having said that, I still feel that, sometimes we’ve got a little bit of inexperience in our bowling, and sometimes when you have that, you’ve got to show some faith in them, show trust in them, and that can happen to any team. Like I said in the last post-match press-conference [in Centurion] about Prasidh [Krishna] playing his first game, we all get nervous when you are playing your first game. It’s understandable, but I thought, and I’ll still back that thought of mine, that he’s got good ability to succeed at this level and especially in this format. So it’s just about showing faith and trust in everyone and getting the job done from them.”

Apart from Krishna, it was Shardul Thakur, in his 11th Test, who disappointed with the ball in the first Test. Jadeja’s return opens up the possibility of playing two spinners as R Ashwin brings with the bat more than what Thakur does.

However, the conditions might not support that idea. Rohit was asked if he expected the conditions to be less hostile to India in Cape Town. “I honestly don’t know too much about that,” he said. “You know, the conditions look pretty similar to what it was. I mean, the pitch looks similar to what it was in Centurion, maybe not so much grass, but there is enough covering of grass on the pitch.

“But yeah, the overhead conditions will matter. I think it’s pretty hot here compared to Centurion, which was a little cooler the first two days. Again, when we played last time here, 2018 and ’21… I wasn’t here in ’21, but the guys were telling me it was pretty similar conditions. We know exactly what is required when the conditions are like that. Based on the pitches, how the conditions are, you gotta respond to that.”

India do have reinforcements in the squad. Avesh Khan, who played for India A at the same time as the first Test, has been called up to provide the team management that option of a tall bowler. He took a five-for in that game. That India are giving themselves these options tells you how much they need a hit-the-deck bowler. They already have Mukesh Kumar, who has the best body of work in domestic cricket among contenders for a fast-bowling spot, but is a skiddy, shorter bowler.

With Thakur struggling with the ball in his last six Tests, India could even think of sacrificing the batting depth and play four out-and-out fast bowlers. Any two of Thakur, Krishna, Avesh and Mukesh could play at Newlands.

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