Team India are likely to replace wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha with Parthiv Patel for the second Test of the ongoing three-match series against South Africa in Centurion, starting Saturday (January 13). Also read: How to watch match live online
Parthiv, who last played for India against England in December 2016, is being looked at as an option to "shore up the batting" as the Gujarat captain is known for adapting well to bouncy conditions. The left-handed batsman also handles pace bowlers well as he is a solid batsman off the back foot, unlike Saha.
Notably, Saha was dismissed for 0 and eight in the first Test, which the visitors lost by 72 runs in Cape Town. The Bengal batsman was trapped in front in both the innings as his inability to wait on the back foot was exposed by the South African pace quartet.
"The team management understands that they need to shore up the batting. Apart from his 878 Test runs in 23 Tests, his first-class average is phenomenal. He has more than 10,000 runs with 26 centuries. The team management couldn't have possibly avoided that," a Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) official aware of the team management's decisions told the Press Trust of India on the eve of the second Test.
Will Parthiv open the batting for India
Parthiv had replaced an injured Saha midway during the five-Test series against England in 2016 and hit 195 runs from three matches, opening the batting for the then hosts.
The Gujarat batsman, who has scored 878 runs at 33.76 in 23 matches for India, though is unlikely to open the batting in Centurion as Karnataka batsman KL Rahul is all set to replace Shikhar Dhawan at the top of the order.
The team management's decision to include Rahul comes after Dhawan struggled against short balls in Centurion, thereby failing to give the team good starts in both the innings.
Meanwhile, Virat Kohli and co. may also bring in seasoned campaigner Ishant Sharma in place of Bhuvneshwar Kumar despite the latter's all-round show in Cape Town.
Bhuvneshwar picked up six wickets and hit a handy 25 off 86 balls in the second innings after the top order had failed.
However, the lanky Uttar Pradesh paceman might not feature in the playing XI as the Centurion pitch is expected to offer more bounce than lateral movement -- conditions that will suit Ishant, who hits the deck hard everytime he runs in.