FAST bowler Mohammed Shami has been ruled out of the rest of India’s tour of Australia. Shami is understood to have suffered a fracture to his right arm, which was revealed after he had scans immediately after the Adelaide Test ended.
The news will come as a minor blow to India, which lost that Test within three days after being bowled out for their lowest Test total.
The BCCI has not yet made an announcement on the development. When it comes to replacing Shami, the team managers have to choose one of the trio of players: Kartik Tyagi, T Natarajan and Shardul Thakur. By the way, none of these three fast guys were part of the original Test squad.
Natarajan and Thakur stayed back after the whirlwind leg of the Australian tour to join Tyagi as net bowlers.
Shami, who batted at No. 11, suffered the injury while staying awkward in a brief delivery from Pat Cummins on Saturday. After being tapped on his right forearam Shami decided to bat on, but then signaled that he could not continue and walked back to the dressing room. Neither returned to bowling in the fourth out.
In the post-match presentation, India captain Virat Kohli said Shami was in “pain” and couldn’t even lift his bowling hand. Shami’s absence means India’s fast bowling attack is now left with only Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini and Mohammed Siraj. Saini and Siraj are both uncapped in Test cricket.
In addition to Shami’s absence, India will be without Kohli, who will miss the rest of the series as he returns home on paternity leave.
Who should replace Shami?
India’s team managers have a tough choice to make as to who should replace Shami in the Test squad. Thakur, who plays for Mumbai, is the most experienced sailor among reserves, with 206 wickets averaging 28.55 in first-class cricket.
Natarajan, a left-arm sailor, forced his way into India’s limited overs squads for the Australian tour on the back of his impressive performances in the IPL for Sunrirsers Hyderabad. In first-class cricket, Natarajan, who represents Tamil Nadu, has little experience having picked up 64 wickets in 20 matches at 27.03.
Twenty-year-old Tyagi was part of India’s under-19 team who made the World Cup final in South Africa earlier this year. A right-arm fast bowler, Tyagi played for the Indians in the first warm-up match against Australia A recently, going wicketless. He has played two games for Uttar Pradesh in the Ranji Trophy, winning three wickets.
Ishant Sharma Question
Shami’s injury could also force selectors and team managers to reflect on their decision not to include Ishant Sharma in the Test squad despite being declared fit by the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in November.
Sharma, who sustained an injury during the IPL while playing for the Delhi Capitals, went to the NCA in Bengaluru in September and was deemed fit around November 19. However, in his assessment report to the BCCI and team management, the NCA noted that Sharma would need to build on her bowling workload in order to be fully fit to be selected for the Test series.
In his first media briefing on the eve of the Australian tour, in November, Kohli even wondered why Sharma wasn’t completing his rehab with the rest of the squad that would have kept him in contention for the Test series.
It is understood that the BCCI wants to ensure that Sharma is fully fit and ready in the long run as India is due to play a four-match Test series against England at home shortly after the Australian tour. India will then travel around England for another five-Test series in mid-2021.
On November 26, the BCCI said that while Sharma had “completely recovered” from the side strain he had undergone during the IPL, he was “accumulating his workload to ensure Test-proof fitness” and he ” disregarded ”from the Trophy Borders -Gavaskar. (Cricinfo)