The Indian cricket team received a shot in the arm ahead of the second Test against South Africa with the news of Avesh Khan’s inclusion in the squad. The pace bowler replaces the experienced Mohammed Shami, who is nursing a shoulder injury. Shami, who had been named to the initial squad for both tests, was compelled to withdraw as a result of fitness concerns.
In his stead, Although Avesh has not participated in a test match for India, he has amassed 27 wickets in eight one-day internationals and 19 Twenty20 internationals.
This is a golden opportunity for Khan, who has been in impressive form recently. He’s been spearheading the bowling attack for India A in their ongoing tour match against South Africa A, showcasing his swing bowling prowess and picking up a five-wicket haul in the first innings. India were penalised on Friday with a 10% sanction on their match fee and two ICC World Test Championship points deducted for their slow over rate during their innings and their 32-run loss to South Africa in the first test.
Chris Broad of the ICC Elite Panel of Match Referees imposed the sanction after determining that India fell two overs short of the target when time allowances were considered, according to the cricket regulating body ICC.
Shami’s absence is a significant blow for India, considering his experience and wicket-taking abilities. He was instrumental in India’s historic win at Centurion, claiming five wickets in the second innings. However, Khan’s inclusion brings in a different dimension to the attack.
The 26-year-old right-armer brings pace and swing to the table, excelling in seam-friendly conditions. His ability to generate early wickets with the new ball could prove crucial in Johannesburg, where the pitch is expected to offer assistance to fast bowlers.
Khan’s journey to the national team has been one of resilience and determination. Despite impressing in the domestic circuit for years, he struggled to break into the national Test setup. However, his consistent performances in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and India A tours finally earned him a call-up for the Bangladesh series earlier this year.
While he didn’t get a chance to play in Bangladesh, Khan continued to impress in the Ranji Trophy, taking 32 wickets in five matches. His strong showing for India A sealed his place in the Test squad for South Africa, and now, he stands on the cusp of his maiden Test appearance.
Khan’s inclusion adds depth and variety to the Indian bowling attack. With Jasprit Bumrah leading the charge, Mohammed Siraj offering swing and bounce, and Shardul Thakur’s all-round abilities, India now boasts a well-rounded attack capable of taking on the Proteas bowlers on their home turf.
The second Test is set to be a nail-biter, with both teams eager to level the series. Whether Khan gets the opportunity to debut and how he fares against the formidable South African batting lineup remains to be seen. However, his inclusion in the squad itself is a testament to his talent and perseverance, leaving Indian fans optimistic about the upcoming cricketing battle.