Shardul Thakur or Siddharth Kaul: Who should be India's third pacer?
ICC World Cup, cricket's mega event is set to roll out next year in England. With 10 teams participating in the tournament, this World Cup marks the return of the action to the "Home of Cricket" after a long time.
Having failed to defend their title in 2015, the Indian team will be looking to make amends next year by bringing home the trophy. India who is known for producing great spin bowlers will be going into the World Cup with a very strong pace bowling attack. The Bumrah-Bhuvaneshwar duo will be a critical element to India's success in the tournament. However, the Indian team is yet to finalize on the 3rd pacer in the squad. With the trends in the recent team selections, only two of them look likely to get the nod. Let us find out who among the two will be India's 3rd fast bowling option in the World Cup.
It is to be noted that in the recent times, Shardul Thakur has been the preferred bowling option for India behind Bumrah and Bhuvaneshwar in the limited overs format. Shardul came into the limelight after his excellent Ranji season with Mumbai where he topped the bowling charts. However, it was his bowling in the 2017 IPL season with Rising Pune SuperGiants which got him his national debut.
Although Shardul has not produced an emphatic bowling spell at the international level so far, he has made it to the Indian squad most of the occasions. He was decent in this year's IPL with CSK and considering that he has the most number of international matches in Indian cricket team's current set of preferred bowlers apart from Bumrah and Bhuvi, Thakur may get into the World Cup squad.
Siddharth Kaul was Virat Kohli's go-to bowler in the 2008 edition of U-19 World Cup which eventually was won by India. However, the Punjab player never made any headlines after that till very recently. After being picked up by Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL, Kaul has had a couple of consistent seasons with the ball.
His knuckleball and yorkers have helped Sunrisers get close to the title. He was picked for the Indian team this year and has got a few opportunities too. Although he is yet to establish himself in the international level, he is well ahead of Deepak Chahar and Khaleel Ahmed in terms of experience. Hence, he might be considered for the squad unless the selectors change their mind and go for one of the experienced bowlers -Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami.
Who should make the cut?
Considering their suitability to the 50-over format, Shardul seems to have an upper hand over Kaul. It should also be noted that Shardul has proved himself in the Ranji Trophy but Siddarth Kaul was selected based on his IPL performances. Shardul also has the ability to contribute some runs down the order which makes him a better contender for the job.