Opinion: Proteas must chasten Bumrah, subdue Kohli

Batsman faces bowler in front of packed cordon

The inclusion of Jasprit Bumrah in India's Test squad for the tour of South Africa is pretty exciting. While Bumrah has never played the longest form of the international game and hasn't gathered a first-class appearance in almost a year, his selection is entirely justified.

An absolute hit in the ODI and T20I XI since January 2016's debut, the unorthodox fast bowler will provide a welcome dynamic to an otherwise samey seam attack. He is certainly a stronger option than Umesh Yadav or Mohammed Shami - and will probably find himself opening the innings alongside Ishant Sharma or Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

Dean Elgar and Aiden Markram will be hard pressed to successfully combat the right-arm speedster, with the unusual positioning of his right arm an additional challenge. While Bumrah's unconventional action isn't quite Lasith Malinga-esque, it will require the very best from Elgar and Markram, particularly if the ball is swinging and jagging off the seam.

On an entertainment front, Hardik Pandya is a welcome selection - and one hopes he won't be under-prepared. Rested for the recent Tests against Sri Lanka, Pandya had asked for the break, but might have inadvertently lost some momentum at a crucial juncture in his career. He will hit the deck hard with the ball and bat aggressively. The Proteas must not be caught off guard on either front.

One has to feel for Kuldeep Yadav. The left-arm wrist spinner has been overlooked, with the selectors instead sticking with the tried and tested Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. Two frontline spinners in a 17-man squad - for a tour away from the Sub-Continent - is more than enough. Yadav will get another chance when India play at home again.

The hosts, meanwhile, have their own selection issues to carefully consider. Who will make way for the return of AB de Villiers and how Dale Steyn will be fashioned back into the bowling department are two important factors. Either way, Keshav Maharaj must not be forsaken. The temptation might be to forego the spinner against opposition entirely comfortable against slow bowling. Maharaj, regardless, must stay.

If ever they’ve had to make specific plans around one batsman, now is that time. Virat Kohli is in sublime form - and well on his way to being listed among the game’s greats. The last time India toured South Africa, Kohli scored 119, 96, 46 and 11 - and the prolific right-hander has improved plenty since. Steyn versus Kohli, indeed, could yield a great battle within the war

The views expressed above are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Hollywoodbets.

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