Karthik played his last Test in 2010 © Getty Images
Karthik played his last Test in 2010 © Getty Images

Dinesh Karthik will replace Wriddhiman Saha in the Indian squad before the third Test against South Africa, as BCCI revealed on Tuesday. After a record-breaking 10 catches in first Test, Saha suffered a hamstring injury. His absence forced Virat Kohli to bring in Parthiv Patel. Parthiv’s wicketkeeping in the second game was highly criticised as he missed too many chances in the second Test. He failed with bat in the first innings as well (though, to be fair, the top order generally did not come off). BCCI has made it clear that Saha cannot play in the third Test as well. Karthik has played 23 Tests in his 14-year-long career, 7 of them as a specialist batsman. He paired Wasim Jaffer in the mid-2000s several times, including on the South Africa tour of 2005-06. He has also opened batting 10 times for India, which will provide them with an extra batting option at the top. Karthik’s latest Test appearance dates back to 2010.

BCCI released a statement on Tuesday which read: “The All-India Senior Selection Committee has named Dinesh Karthik as the replacement for Wriddhiman Saha for the third and final Test against South Africa. He is set to join the team before the third Test. Mr. Wriddhiman Saha suffered an upper left hamstring tendon injury during training on Thursday, January 11. The BCCI Medical Team will continue to monitor his progress.”

India lost the opening Test to the hosts by 72 runs after a close contest. Apart from Saha’s, India made two more changes that stirred controversy. Hoping for bounce, Kohli dropped Bhuvneshwar Kumar, their best bowler from the first Test, to bring in Ishant Sharma. He also brought in KL Rahul in place of Shikhar Dhawan while Ajinkya Rahane did not find a spot.

At stumps on Day Three, second Test, South Africa led India by 118 runs in the second innings with 8 wickets in hand.