After conquering the Melbourne Test, Ajinkya Rahane & Co. gear up for the third Test against Australia that begins on Thursday at the Sydney Cricket Ground. While the players are sweating it out that the nets to maintain their victory run, the team management are set to face another selection conundrum after the exit of Umesh Yadav.
The left-arm pacer picked up a calf injury during the second innings of the Boxing Day Test and was later, ruled out of the remainder of the series. While the BCCI has already named T Natarajan as Yadav’s replacement, Shardul Thakur and Navdeep Saini are other two in contention.
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Meanwhile, former Indian cricketers Pragyan Ojha and Deep Dasgupta have backed the selection of Thakur, suggesting that the Mumbai bowler can back Bumrah and Siraj with his swinging capabilities.
“It’s a very clear choice. Shardul Thakur, who can swing the ball. His strength his swinging the ball, we need someone who can swing the ball. We have someone who can bowl fast, that is Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah. They can move the ball off the wicket, they’re quick. But if you want someone who can swing the ball then you can go for Shardul Thakur,” Ojha told Sports Today.
“And if you want someone who can bowl quick and hit the deck, you’ve got Navdeep Saini. So, this a luxury for you [Team India], at this point also when you have so many injuries. It’s up to the team management what they want,” Ojha added.
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Dasgupta echoed Ojha’s thoughts and said that Thakur could be an advantage for India given the conditions in Sydney.
“I agree with Pragyan, because both of them [Saini and Shardul] are very different kind of bowlers. While Shardul is a swing bowler, Navdeep Saini is hit the deck kind of bowler. We already have Siraj and Bumrah like that, I don’t mind looking at Shardul Thakur,” Dasgupta told Sports Today.
“Somebody who can swing the ball 3 days, there will be overcast in Sydney. There is a forecast of storms. I won’t mind having someone like a Shardul Thakur,” he added.