Left-arm fast bowler T Natarajan has been added to India’s Test squad for the remaining two matches against Australia, the BCCI confirmed on Friday. Umesh sustained a calf injury while bowling during the second Test in Adelaide and was subsequently ruled out. The fast bowler had bowled only 3.3 overs in the second innings before being taken off the field.
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“The All-India Senior Selection Committee has named T Natarajan as Yadav’s replacement,” BCCI said in a release. “Ahead of the Boxing Day Test, Shardul Thakur was added to the Test squad as Mohd. Shami’s replacement after the senior fast bowler suffered a hairline fracture in his right forearm. Both Shami and Umesh Yadav will head to the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru for further rehabilitation of their injuries.”
This is the first time that the BCCI has made an official statement regarding Mohammed Shami’s injury. The fast bowler had suffered a fracture and while there were several reports that stated that the fast bowler had flown back home, the board did not make an official announcement on his status until today. The BCCI also officially informed that fast bowler Shardul Thakur has taken Shami’s place in the squad. Thakur has previously played one Test, but could only bowl 10 balls before suffering a groin strain on Test debut.
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Natarajan featured in the ODIs and T20Is against Australia in November but did not fly back to India. Instead, he has been training with the Indian team as a nets bowler. The 29-year-old left-arm quick impressed everyone by picking up eight wickets from four games, following which there were heavy clamours of his inclusion in the Indian Test side, especially now that the bowling line-up is without three of its most experienced quicks – Ishant Sharma, Shami and Umesh.
“Umesh Yadav sustained a strain in his left calf muscle on Day 3 of the second Border-Gavaskar Test in Melbourne. He underwent scans later in the day. The fast bowler will not recover completely ahead of the remaining two Test matches and has been ruled out of the series,” the statement further read.
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The board also provided on the status of Rohit Sharma, who is expected to take part in the Pink Test starting January 7 at the Sydney Cricket Ground. “Rohit Sharma has completed his quarantine and has now joined the Indian Cricket Team in Melbourne,” the release stated.
India Test squad: Ajinkya Rahane (Captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper), Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Jasprit Bumrah, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Md. Siraj, Shardul Thakur, T Natarajan