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“We need someone who can swing the ball” – Former players want Shardul Thakur to play third Test

It is a toss-up between Shardul Thakur (R) and Navdeep Saini (L) for India
It is a toss-up between Shardul Thakur (R) and Navdeep Saini (L) for India's third seamer
SENIOR ANALYST
Modified 05 Jan 2021, 15:42 IST
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Former India spinner Pragyan Ojha opined that Shardul Thakur’s ability to swing the ball will perfectly complement Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Siraj’s pace.

Umesh Yadav’s calf muscle injury has left India to choose between Thakur or Navdeep Saini for the third Test against Australia, starting on Thursday (January 7).

Shardul Thakur is known to swing the ball in the air, while Navdeep Saini is a tall bowler who delivers with pace and hits the deck hard. Speaking on Sports Today, Pragyan Ojha shed light on the contrast, while adding the team management would understand the situation better.

“I think you have a choice. It’s a very clear choice. Shardul Thakur, who can swing the ball. His strength is swinging the ball, we need someone who can swing the ball. We have someone who can bowl fast, that is Mohammad 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. 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, who has picked 144 wickets in 24 Tests, 18 ODIs and 6 T20Is, reasoned.

While Shardul Thakur has taken 206 wickets at a strike-rate of 54.1 from 62 first-class games, Saini has scalped 128 wickets at 59.9 in 46 first-class matches.


Shardul Thakur can make the most of overcast conditions, says Deep Dasgupta

Shardul Thakur bowling under the eyes of head coach Ravi Shastri during a nets session
Shardul Thakur bowling under the eyes of head coach Ravi Shastri during a nets session

There is a forecast of overcast skies and thunderstorms in Sydney which may lead to the red cherry moving relatively more in the air. Former India wicketkeeper-batsman Deep Dasgupta highlighted this very aspect, saying Shardul Thakur can make optimum use of the overcast conditions.

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“Both of them [Thakur and Saini] are very different kind of bowlers. While Shardul is a swing bowler, Navdeep is hit-the-deck kind of bowler. We already have Siraj and Bumrah like that, I don’t mind looking at Shardul Thakur.
“Somebody who can swing the ball three days, there will be overcast in Sydney. There is a forecast of storms. I won’t mind having someone like a Shardul Thakur,” Dasgupta told Sports Today.

After being humiliated in Adelaide, India – under stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane – came back strongly to win the Boxing Day contest by eight wickets. India would want Yadav's replacement in the third Test to put up a concerted effort alongside Bumrah and Siraj, and help the team build on the winning momentum.


 

Published 05 Jan 2021, 15:42 IST
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