Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
India pace bowler Jasprit Bumrah has earned maiden call-up to the Test team for the upcoming tour of South Africa next year.
Bumrah has excelled in limited overs cricket and the national selectors could no longer overlook him when it came to longest format.
The 24-year-old is the fourth-highest wicket-taker in ODIs this year with 35 victims, and chairman of selectors MSK Prasad said he was highly impressed with Bumrah’s “phenomenal” form.
“If you see his performance in the last 18 months, he’s been phenomenal,” Prasad was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. “He’s been sensational and has done outstandingly well in both one-day and T20. Considering the Ranji Trophy he played last year (where) he bowled brilliantly in the whole season, we have no doubts.
“It is a unanimous choice and there is no doubt in picking Bumrah because he definitely adds variety to our pace attack. And considering the nature of wickets there, it will definitely suit his bowling.”
Meanwhile, wicketkeeper-batsman Parthiv Patel was also selected in the side, even though he has not represented India in Test cricket since their home series against England in December last year.
Parthiv was serve as a back-up to current wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha, but while his selection has raised a few eyebrows, Prasad defended the selectors’ decision, saying: “When we had given an opportunity against England he did beyond our expectations. We all know that Wriddhiman Saha is the side’s No.1 wicketkeeper, [but] we still need to have a back-up wicketkeeper.
“Right now he [Parthiv] is the next-best wicketkeeper that we have in India. His domestic performances are also equally good.”
However, while Parthiv returned to the Test squad, left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav was omitted. Explaining why Kuldeep was left out, Prasad admitted that it would be difficult for the 22-year-old to replace Ravichandran Ashwin or Ravindra Jadeja, who are India’s frontline spinners in Test cricket.
“I really feel unfortunate for Kuldeep Yadav,” Prasad said. “Definitely he would have added (variety), but we are going to play only three Test matches. Considering to play Kuldeep ahead of No.1 and No.2 spinners in the world is a bit of a big ask.”
In regards to the three-Test series, Prasad believes that India can give South Africa a run for their money.
“We are going there as the No.1 Test team,” he said. “We are going with a very good confidence. Everybody is in very good form. Hence, on that basis, I am saying this is a good, balanced side.”
India’s Test Squad: Virat Kohli (Captain), Murali Vijay, Lokesh Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vc), Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Parthiv Patel, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah