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IND v AUS 2020: Who can be Mohammed Shami's replacement?

Mohammed Shami was injured after being hit by a Pat Cummins bouncer.
Mohammed Shami was injured after being hit by a Pat Cummins bouncer.
Wasiq Agha
ANALYST
Modified 21 Dec 2020, 12:53 IST
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With star bowler Mohammed Shami ruled out of the India vs Australia Test series with a fracture on his right forearm, the search begins for an adequate replacement for the pacer.

Mohammed Shami had a great outing the last time India toured Australia, and his absence will certainly impact the team’s preparations going into the Boxing Day Test.

We take a look at the possible replacements for Mohammed Shami for the upcoming Tests.

Saini and Siraj could replace Mohammed Shami

The two front-runners are Navdeep Saini and Mohammed Siraj, with both bowlers yet to play their first Test for India. The two of them are already part of the India Test squad for Australia and were also in the running for the third seamer's slot ahead of the first Test.

Out of the two, Mohammed Siraj is slightly ahead of Navdeep Saini in the pecking order, owing to his impressive performances during the practice matches. Siraj played both practice games against Australia A and ended up with 5 wickets from them. Navdeep Saini on the other hand, could only manage 3 wickets.

Who else can replace Mohammed Shami?

If the Indian management doesn’t want to choose Saini or Siraj as Mohammed Shami’s replacement, they can look outside India’s Test squad. They could turn to one of three Indian pace bowlers currently in Australia but have not been named in the Test squad.

The first option is Shardul Thakur, with the Mumbai pacer having represented India in white-ball cricket. Thakur is the most experienced bowler of the lot and has picked up more than 200 wickets at the first-class level.

Another option to replace Mohammed Shami is T Natarajan. The left-arm seamer had a great outing during the T20Is and ODIs against Australia earlier this year, and could prove to be an effective replacement for the injured Mohammed Shami. T Natarajan is a left-arm pacer that could also offer much-needed variety to the Indian pace bowling attack.

The final option at India’s disposal is young gun Kartik Tyagi. The 20-year-old has been part of the India team as a net bowler but is an unproven entity at the international level. However, the India vs Australia Test series may be too big a task for the right-arm fast bowler, particularly after Kartik Tyagi went wicketless in the first practice match against Australia A.

Published 21 Dec 2020, 12:53 IST
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