South Africa vs India 2018: 5 India players to watch out for in the Test series
With the South Africa-India series three days away, we look at 5 key players for India.
The Indian team have been on a roll in Test cricket. Though they’ve largely played at home, they have managed to beat every team that they have faced in the last 2-3 years. From the start of 2015, India have lost only 2 Test matches (one against Sri Lanka at Galle and the other against Australia at Pune).
However, tougher challenges await the No. 1 Test team. In the next year and a half, India travel aboard and have tough tours of South Africa, England and Australia. And they start their away sojourn with a three-match Test series against the Rainbow Nation (January 5).
Hence, we look at 5 India players to watch out for in the upcoming Test series.
#5 Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Bhuvneshwar Kumar is one of the most improved bowlers in world cricket at the moment. While there was no doubt about his skill to move (swing) the ball both ways, his pace was down. He would often be the high 120s or low 130s (km/h).
However, over the past 18 months or so, Bhuvneshwar has worked hard and has added an extra yard of pace. He has also learned the art of bowling on pitches where there is little help. Now, he can also hit the deck hard and extract movement of the surface.
Moreover, the Uttar Pradesh lad has been in some very good form. He’s had a brilliant year in white-ball cricket where he’s formed a lethal pair with Jasprit Bumrah. But, his Test form has also been very good. Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami have generally been India’s preferred choice of pacers at home. However, whenever Bhuvneshwar has got his chance, he has delivered.
In 2016, he took a couple of crucial fifers (against West Indies and New Zealand). In 2017, he played only two Tests in the first half (out of 5) and looked in good rhythm (even though he didn’t get wickets). Then on a helpful track at the Eden Gardens (Kolkata), Bhuvneshwar led India’s fightback and almost won them the game in the final session (he took 4/88 and 4/8).
Thus, with the form Bhuvneshwar Kumar is in, India will be banking on him for breakthroughs with the new ball.