Prabhakar: Bhuvneshwar should play in Jo’burg Test

"I cannot understand how they say he cannot bowl well on that type of pitch (in Centurion). He swings it in the air and is a rare bowler," Prabhakar said after Bhuvneshwar Kumar was dropped for the second Test against South Africa.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the highest wicket taker for India in the Cape Town Test against South Africa.   -  AP

Manoj Prabhakar hopes that a swing bowler of Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s calibre will find a place in the Indian XI in the third Test against South Africa in Johannesburg, beginning on January 24.

A crafty swing bowler of his times, Prabhakar felt Bhuvneshwar, who was dropped for the second Test in Centurion, deserved to play in all Tests. “I cannot understand how they say Bhuvneshwar cannot bowl well on that type of pitch (in Centurion). Bhuvneshwar swings it in the air and is a rare bowler, rest (make the movement) off the pitch.

“Bhuvneshwar troubles their batsmen because he swings it late in the air. When you have such a bowler, why not use him with the new ball,” said Prabhakar during an interaction here on Saturday.

“I think Bhuvneshwar should be played in Jo’burg, where you get good swing. South Africans are good against seam bowling, but not so good against swing bowling… Why do you have to wait till reverse swing? Try to take three-four wickets early.”

Prabhakar, who works as the bowling coach of the Delhi team, was pleased to see the improved performance of Ishant Sharma in Centurion. “In one-and-a-half months I corrected his balance. Everybody said his shoulder dropped, but people should have corrected it. When I got a chance after six years, I corrected it. Now he swings it like he used to do in earlier days…He is able to generate late swing.”

The former all-rounder was impressed with India’s bowling in South Africa. “You should have enough runs on board to defend. Bowlers don’t have a magic wand to defend 250 runs. Still they are doing well. You cannot say South African batsmen are comfortable against our bowling, they are also struggling.”

Prabhakar said the key to success in South Africa was taking early advantage. “If we do not know how to bat and bowl in the first 20 overs, we cannot win in SA.”

According to Prabhakar, who also opened batting in Tests, a batsman needed to have good technique to survive in testing conditions in South Africa. “Until and unless you know how to leave the ball…you can not survive. Defence is the best offence.”

Prabhakar said a batman like Ajinkya Rahane should play in away Tests. “It’s a shame. If you start picking the Test side like T20 or one-dayers, we are gone. The Test batsmen are specialists.”

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