Ravindra Jadeja is fit and ready for selection, providing India with more batting options and bowling combinations. His return also gives India a left-hand batter besides opener Yashasvi Jaiswal. Jadeja had missed the last Test due to upper back spasms.
While confirming Jadeja’s fitness, Rohit Sharma emphasized the importance of not being too critical of inexperienced bowlers. “We have discussed what we want from this game and the bowlers, but we haven’t finalized our playing XI. Everyone is available for selection, and there are no injury concerns. We will decide the right combination in the evening.”
“Sometimes we have inexperience in our bowling, and in such cases, we must show faith and trust in them, which can happen to any team. Like I said before about Prasidh [Krishna], playing his first game, it’s about showing faith and trust and getting the job done from them.”
In addition to Krishna, Shardul Thakur disappointed with the ball in the first Test. Jadeja’s return opens up the possibility of playing two spinners, with R Ashwin providing more with the bat than 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,” Rohit said. “The conditions look pretty similar to what it was in Centurion. 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 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 with the option of a tall bowler. He took a five-for in that game. India are giving themselves these options as they need a hit-the-deck bowler. They have Mukesh Kumar, who has the best domestic cricket record among fast-bowling contenders, 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 fast bowlers. Any two of Thakur, Krishna, Avesh and Mukesh could play at Newlands.