Ashwin-Jadeja swap certain, another debut?: India’s likely XI for 2nd Test vs SA | Cricket

The 2023/24 edition of the South Africa series was billed as India’s best chance to conquer the final frontier, one that remained unvanquished for 31 years, and it added another year to its tally after the Centurion loss last week. Despite South Africa being down to 10 men after captain Temba Bavuma was out with an injury, the hosts wrapped up the series opener inside three days to inflict a loss by an innings and 32 runs. And then, more trouble befell India as they were docked two WTC points for maintaining a slow over rate, as they slipped from the top spot to the sixth. The journey back will only get more challenging, at least in South Africa, where India will play their second and final match of the series in Cape Town, the city where they have never won a game.

What changes will India make in their playing XI for 2nd Test against South Africa?

India managed 245 and 131 in the two innings at the SuperSport Park, but the fast bowlers came under the radar after the visitors conceded 408 runs, especially debutant Prasidh Krishna and bowling all-rounder Shardul Thakur, who leaked 194 runs between themselves for three wickets. The loss was followed by heavy criticism and while some sympathised with Prasidh, Thakur was lashed out at by experts. So should India drop one between the two or both for the final Test match in Newlands?

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India have Mukesh Kumar in the squad as well, who had made his debut in the West Indies tour last year. India also added Avesk Khan to the squad, who was recently part of the India A team for a four-day tour match against South Africa A at Benoni. The right-arm bowler returned 23.3-5-54-5 to help bowl out the hosts for 263 in the first innings. If not Avesh, India could replace Prasidh with Mukesh with the series on the line, while Thakur is likely to retain his spot by virtue of his batting abilities lower down the order.

However, given Rohit Sharma’s words at the pre-game presser on Tuesday, India are likely to stick with Prasidh, who worked extensively on December 30 in Centurion with the bowling coach on his line and length. “Like I said in the last post-match press conference [in Centurion] about Prasidh [Krishna] playing his first game, we all get nervous when you are playing your first game. It’s understandable, but I thought, and I’ll still back that thought of mine, that he’s got a good ability to succeed at this level and especially in this format. So it’s just about showing faith and trust in everyone and getting the job done from them,” Rohit said.

The only change that seems certain will be the return of Ravindra Jadeja, who had missed out on the first game owing to a back spasm. Ashwin, who played instead, did perform impressively on seam-friendly conditions but will have to make way for the left-arm spinner.

India’s Predicted XI for the second Test vs South Africa

Openers: Rohit Sharma (C), Yashasvi Jaiswal,

Top and middle-order: Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer

Wicketkeeper: KL Rahul (WK)

All-rounders: Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur

Pacers: Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Prasidh Krishna

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