Various experts and pundits continue to have a go at forming their own versions of India’s playing XI for the third and final Test against South Africa in Cape Town. The long list includes former India opener Aakash Chopra, who believes that fit-again Virat Kohli should retain Hanuma Vihari instead of R Ashwin.
Senior off-spinner Ashwin and Hyderabad-born Vihari played crucial knocks in the second Test in Johannesburg. While Ashwin scored a quickfire 46 in the first innings, Vihari scored a solid unbeaten 40 to ensure India posted a decent target for the Proteas. Ashwin, however, hasn’t been as penetrative with the ball despite being economical.
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“I feel you should consider if Ashwin should be played at all in Cape Town because even Hanuma Vihari will bowl the number of overs he is bowling. And Hanuma Vihari can bat better than him.
“You go in with four fast bowlers and keep Hanuma Vihari as the fifth because you are scoring very few runs in the batting in any case. And once Virat Kohli comes, you will have to make someone sit out. So instead of Vihari, you can make Ashwin sit out,” elaborated Chopra while speaking in a video on his YouTube channel.
The cricketer-turned-broadcaster added that since India aren’t bowing Ashwin much, it won’t be a bad idea to leave him out.
“You are not needing Ashwin’s bowling much because if you see the last day as well, in the fourth innings also Ashwin took just one wicket. If we see the fourth innings at Centurion, there also he had caught hold of the tail.
“So it won’t be a bad idea to rest Ashwin here but if he plays, the number of overs will be dependent on the wickets he is taking. You want to contain but containment does not work in low-scoring Test matches, you need to take wickets,” concluded Chopra.
The series is currently poised beautifully at 1-1 as the two teams head into what is expected to be nail-biting finish to this series.