SA vs IND: Avesh Khan replaces Mohammed Shami in Test squad

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced Avesh Khan as Mohammed Shami’s replacement for the second and final Test of the series against South Africa. Avesh, who is yet to make his debut in Test cricket, picked up a five-for in the second unofficial Test against South Africa A. After the completion of the match, the pacer will join the Indian squad and start his preparations.

Notably, skipper Rohit Sharma wasn’t impressed with the performance of Indian pacers in the Boxing Day Test. He believes that Jasprit Bumrah has done a good job but the other pacers couldn’t support him well. The decision to include Avesh came soon after Rohit’s statement and Avesh’s impressive performance for India A. He admitted Prasidh Krishna is undercooked and expects him to come back stronger in the future.

Avesh’s inclusion in the red-ball squad might be a clear indication of him making his Test debut soon, as the pace battery failed to impress in the opening Test. He has played 38 First class matches and picked up 149 wickets in the process with an economy of 3.12. The pacer wasn’t in the scheme of things as of late but the team management has backed him to do well in the testing conditions of South Africa where there’s enough lateral movement.

Meanwhile, Jaydev Unadkat, who was part of the Test series in the West Indies has been dropped without enough opportunities. On the other hand, Mohammed Shami is yet to recover but is expected to make his return in the five-match series against England, starting January 25 in Hyderabad.

In the second Test against South Africa, both India’s batting and bowling unit needs to get better in order to secure a win. They were bundled twice within 101.5 overs in the match, while Rohit admitted that the surface wasn’t bad enough for the bowling unit to leak over 400 runs. There’s a lot of room for improvement for team India before the second Test, which is slated to begin on January 3 in Cape Town.