Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chief selector MSK Prasad and his team decided to pick Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja as the frontline spinners for the upcoming tour of South Africa. The all-important Test squad was announced on Monday in New Delhi.
With the selectors deciding to pick Ashwin and Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, who has been doing well for India in the limited overs format, was unlucky to miss out. Before the team was picked, there were talks about the possible inclusion of Kuldeep as he would add variety in the spin attack too.
Prasad defended his team selection when it came to spinners, explaining why Ashwin and Jadeja were picked ahead of Kuldeep for the tough tour of South Africa.
"It is unfortunate Kuldeep had to miss out as we will be playing only three Test matches in South Africa. Considering him over World No 1 and 2 spinners [Ashwin and Jadeja] would have been a big ask. But he is a fine bowler and over a period of time, we would see him grow," Prasad said.
The pitches in South Africa are going to assist seamers, so taking three spinners would not have been logical. India have picked five seamers including Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohamed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah.
India are not going to play with both their spinners in any of the three-match Test series against South Africa, so taking two top-ranked spinners looks to be a decent choice. Besides the duo being wonderful wicket-takers, they have rich experience and it will come handy against a strong team like South Africa.
Though Ashwin and Jadeja are regular Test bowlers for India, they cannot take their place for granted. Kuldeep has been doing exceptionally well, and if these spinners perform below par, it is just a matter of time when the Chinaman will walk into the Test squad as well.
Indian squad for three Tests versus South Africa:
Virat Kohli (Captain), Lokesh Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Rohit Sharma, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha (wicketkeeper), Parthiv Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Burmah, Hardik Pandya.