JOHANNESBURG – If there was any doubt about what the Proteas would encounter as regards pitches for the three Test series against India, they were dispelled yesterday, following the withdrawal of the hosts’ ace seamer Jasprit Bumrah from their Test squad.
Bumrah picked up, what the Board of Control for Cricket in India, called a “minor stress fracture in his lower back”, and as a result will miss all three Tests against South Africa, the first of which starts in Visakhapatnam on October 2.
It is a major blow for the hosts, but it also means that any temptations there may have been to leave a bit of grass on any of the pitches for those Test matches, will disappear.
Bumrah, along with Mohammed Shami and Ishant Shami formed a potent trio of quicks that allowed India to be more competitive away from home, able to fight fast bowling fire, with quicks of their own.
In 12 Tests Bumrah, who propels the ball with an unusually high, straight-arm action off a short run up, has taken 62 wickets at an average of 19.24. He was instrumental in India’s historic series win in Australia last season, picking up 21 wickets in that four match series.