IND vs SA: Umesh Yadav not being picked is surprising, say ex India cricketers
Vidarbha's Ranji Trophy-winning mentors, Chandrakant Pandit and Subroto Banerjee, shocked to see Yadav, the pick of the Indian pacers in recent times, miss out on the first two Tests v SA
The Indian team's combination for the first two Tests against South Africa has been a major talking point in the series so far, the main one being the exclusion of vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane. The dropping of Bhuvneshwar Kumar for the second Test despite a good show in the Cape Town Test to make way for Ishant Sharma too attracted attention. There is also the non-inclusion of pacer Umesh Yadav in the playing XI.
Umesh was the pick of the pacers for Team India in the last one and half year, picking 46 wickets from 19 Tests since the 2016 tour to West Indies. The biggest takeaway though was his ability to deliver consistently and remain injury-free even as he hurled down over 500 overs in the period. Following his success in the long home season, Umesh would have been an automatic choice in the playing XI, but instead he was left in the cold in South Africa for the first two Tests.
Ishant, who replaced Bhuvneshwar despite his six wickets and valuable 25 and 13* runs in the low-scoring Cape Town Test, claimed five wickets in the second Test at Centurion which India lost by 135 runs on Wednesday and with it, the series. Vidarbha's Ranji Trophy-winning mentors — coach Chandrakant Pandit and bowling coach Subroto Banerjee — were surprised that Umesh was not the first choice bowler for Team India against the Proteas. "It was definitely surprising," Banerjee told mid-day from Nagpur yesterday. "I don't understand the thought process of not including Umesh in the XI. If a performer like Bhuvi can be dropped for the next Test then anything can happen in this team," he quipped.
Pandit felt team combination could have resulted in Umesh being on the bench. "It is important to strike the right balance. It's not that the other bowlers in the team are not good. Mohammad Shami has bowled well and so has Bhuvneshwar. Hardik Pandya gets the nod because of his all-round skills. It could be because of the combination that Umesh did not get a chance," said Pandit.
Banerjee and Pandit refused to look at Yadav's exclusion as an error by the Indian team management, but urged Virat Kohli & Co to include the Vidarbha pacer for the final Test. "The team management should try him out in the third Test (at Johannesburg from Jan 24). He is fresh and would be raring to go. He played a first-class match (Ranji Trophy semi-final v Karnataka) and picked wickets (five) as well before going to South Africa. He is in good rhythm too. Umesh would be crucial to India's chances of victory in the final Test," said Pandit.
Banerjee pushed for Umesh's inclusion by saying, "He has the relevant experience. I don't see any reason why he is not part of the playing XI. He is quite good with the old ball as well and can get breakthroughs. He should be included somehow in the final Test now."
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