South Africa vs India 2018: Parthiv Patel could play ahead of Wriddhiman Saha in 2nd Test
What's the story?
After enduring an embarrassing defeat in the first game, especially with captain Virat Kohli conceding that a collective batting failure was the focal point of the loss, Team India could be in for a few changes for the second Test against South Africa.
Reports are coming in from Centurion that Parthiv Patel could replace Wriddhiman Saha as the wicketkeeper in the side, while a shake-up of the top-order is also on the cards.
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A day before the game, Kohli hinted at changes in the line-up, admitting that the side is pondering over the option of fielding a different opening combination.
"Whether we play five batsmen or six, the batsmen have to apply themselves better. One needs to have a solid technique and face bowling spells. We need to embrace that.
“As far as the opening combination is concerned, we are going to decide in the practice session, what we are going to go with in this game. Might do something also whether we will go with a different opening combination,” he said.
The heart of the matter
According to reporters at the venue, Parthiv Patel underwent a rigorous wicketkeeping session, with first-choice Wriddhiman Saha, without pads, a mere spectator. Also, Ajinkya Rahane was seen taking active slip-catching practice alongside Rohit Sharma, further hinting that the duo could feature together in the playing XI, perhaps at the expense of Ravichandran Ashwin.
KL Rahul is also likely to replace Shikhar Dhawan as Murali Vijay's opening partner.
32-year-old Patel last played for India against England in December 2016, before a fit Wriddhiman Saha usurped him to the keeper's role. Saha was a dud with the bat in the opening Test, scoring 0 & 8 at Cape Town.
Trailing 1-0 after the 72-run loss in the opening game, India will be spurred to regain lost pride when they lock horns with the hosts at Centurion on January 13.
Saha broke MS Dhoni's record in the first Test and was outstanding behind the stumps, pouching a couple of stunners. While his batting wasn't up to the mark, even the rest of the batsmen, barring an enterprising Hardik Pandya in the first innings, couldn't get going.
While it is understandable that the team requires fixing its combination urgently, especially with only two more Tests to save the series, it will be harsh on Saha if he is indeed dropped.