There has been plenty of talk as to who will partner Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah as India’s third seamer in the Test series against Australia starting Thursday in Adelaide. Bumrah and Shami are expected to be the first-choice pacers for Virat Kohli, and with India unlikely to play two spinners, and Ishant Sharma not part of this series, the toss up for the third seamer will be between Navdeep Saini, Umesh Yadav and Khaleel Ahmed.
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Umesh is a seasoned campaigner for India in Tests, picking up 144 wickets from 46 Tests, while Saini and Siraj are yet to represent India in Tests. But inconsistency has bogged Umesh down. Saini and Siraj have shown sparks in the two warm-up games against Australia A, but as has Umesh, which makes the situation tricker for the team management. However, if it was up to Mohammad Kaif to select India’s third seamer, the former India batsman knows exactly who to go ahead with.
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“For me, it will be Umesh Yadav because Ishant Sharma is not there who had played an important role when India won the series last time. He had gelled very well with Shami and Bumrah, the three fast bowlers plus Ashwin plus Vihari part-time off-spin. Ishant Sharma was bowling with the new ball,” Kaif said on the Sony Sports Network.
“He was giving the early breakthroughs, getting Finch leg-before or bowled. He was always after Finch. He used to set the tone and after that Shami and Bumrah did their job.”
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Umesh has played eight Tests in Australia, picking up 27 wickets, with a best of 5/93 during the 2011/12 tour, which India lost 0-4. He picked up 11 wickets from three Tests in the 2014/15 tour and had a fine outing against Australia at home in 2017, where he scalped 17 wickets in four Tests. In the 2018/19 tour, Umesh played just one Test in which he picked two wickets. In Ishant’s absence and on the back of his showing in the practice game against Australia A, where he took 3/48, Kaif reckons Umesh is India’s best bet.
“Umesh did well in the practice match. So, he can be a good replacement. He has been erratic at times but he has played 45-46 Test matches. He has the experience and has toured Australia previously,” Kaif added.
“He has the build, he is known for his fitness, he can bowl the long spells as well and will not get injured or unfit. That is also a plus point with him. So, according to me India should go with Mohammed Shami, Bumrah, Umesh Yadav and Ashwin in the first Test match.”