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One change India could make in the 4th Test

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822   //    29 Aug 2018, 12:06 IST

South Africa v India - 2nd Test, Day 1
Mohammed Shami

With Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah already bagging five wicket hauls each, and Ishant being his usual consistence self, Mohammed Shami seems to be the only underperforming link in a highly charged Indian pace battery, who might be left out for the fourth Test.

While Shami may have grabbed eight wickets in the series, this has come at an average of 41.50, which is significantly larger than R Ashwin's 29.50 (the second highest average of the series). Shami has been off his line and length this series, which is reflected in his economy rate of 3.96, also the highest amongst all bowlers in the series.

He has been on the slightly shorter side, which is demonstrated by data courtesy ESPN Cricinfo. While Ishant pitches the ball mainly around the 6m mark, Shami has a tendency to bowl more towards the 8m mark.

This means that Shami has often found himself getting cut or pulled too often, compared to other bowlers in the series. It might be worth giving Shardul Thakur a go, considering he has been training with the team since the start of the series, and also accompanied India A on their tour against the England Lions.

Notably, Thakur has already grabbed a three wicket haul in a one-day game against the Lions at Leicester. Thakur has the ability to bowl quick, while hitting the pitch hard and getting the ball to deviate away from the right hander. With the large number of right-handers in the English batting lineup, the right arm quick is likely to create various opportunities for the slip cordon.

Thakur's international recognition came from the Ranji Trophy in 2016, where he combined with Dhawal Kulkarni in what was sensational new ball bowling. England is all about the new ball. It's worth taking the gamble.

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