K Srikkanth hails Bhuvneshwar Kumar's efforts in South Africa series

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K Srikkanth hails Bhuvneshwar Kumar's efforts in South Africa series

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SportsCafe Desk


Krishnamachari Srikkanth has heaped praise on Bhuvneshwar Kumar for his recent performance against South Africa and called his effort the biggest gain from the series. Srikkanth has also claimed that after this Test series, other teams will think twice before preparing green top against India.

Despite India losing the three-match Test series against South Africa 2-1, there were many positives that came out of the series - a major one being Bhuvneshwar's exploits with the ball. The 27-year-old played the first Test of the series in Cape Town where he claimed six wickets including 4/87 in the first innings. Virat Kohli dropped him in the Centurion Test and included him again for the third and final Test when the team needed a win to deny a series whitewash. The Indian pacer didn’t disappoint the skipper’s trust as he showed his all-round performance in Johannesburg claiming four wickets and scoring 66 runs in two innings and also won the Man of the Match award. Former Indian skipper, Srikkanth, singled out Bhuvneshwar’s effort as one of the biggest positives of the series.

"The biggest gain from the series was the excellent effort of Bhuvneshwar Kumar. In a series where runs came at a premium, Bhuvi showed admirable character and composure. Always under the radar, the all-rounder is certainly becoming the most vital cog in the team sheet. I am sure he will have a lot to offer in Australia and England as well," Srikkanth wrote in his column for TOI.

In the final Test of the series, the Indian batsmen finally showed some fight which they had lacked in the first two games. But on the difficult pitch at the Wanderers, they performed much better in comparison to their South African counterparts which resulted in their first win of the series. In the first innings, it was Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara, who built a much-needed partnership for the visitors in the front of the South African pace attack as both completed their half-centuries. In the second innings, Indian batsmen tried to put up some small partnerships which helped them score a total of 247 runs. It proved to be enough for the bowlers to defend as Team India secured a 63-run win on the fourth day of the game. Srikkanth considered this win as one of the finest Test victories in foreign conditions for India.

"I can safely assure that playing Test cricket overseas is tough business but the conditions in Johannesburg made it almost impossible to compete. The Indian batsmen showed the required gumption to fight it out. To be consistently hit on the knuckle and ribs and yet continuing to fight showed the mental strength of this side," he wrote.

"Another feather in India's cap was going in with an all pace attack. This move showed the positive intent of Virat Kohli and his desire to win. Full credit to the bowlers, their body language was exemplary and even during the partnership between Amla and Elgar they never let the intensity go."

Ahead of the start of the series, everyone was expecting the Indian batsmen to continue their brilliant form, which they showed throughout the home season. However, it was the Indian pace battery that gave the visitors something to cheer about in the series. Along with Bhuvneshwar, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, and Ishant Sharma, impressed in South Africa as they matched their opponent’s pace department throughout the series. In all three games, bowlers from both sides managed to pick all wickets in each innings. 

"The last time India managed to pick 60 wickets in a three-Test series (outside Asia) was in England in 1986. In terms of pace, the current side has it better but where I can draw a parallel, is they are hunting as a pack. The wickets might not have been distributed equally but each bowler did his job just about right. If the attack works as a unit the chances of them succeeding is always high and that is what happened in South Africa. From now on, teams will think twice before preparing a green top against India. There is a lot of cricket left to be played in the series and I am sure the one-dayers and T20s will be exciting as well," Srikkanth signed off.

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