Fast bowler Mohammad Shami has been ruled out of the rest of India’s tour of Australia. It is understood Shami has suffered a fracture on his right forearm, which was revealed after he underwent scans immediately after the Adelaide Test ended. The news will come as a crushing blow for India, who lost that Test inside three days after being bowled out for their lowest total ever.
The BCCI is yet to make an announcement on the development. As for Shami’s replacement, the team management has to pick one from the trio of players: Kartik Tyagi, T Natarajan and Shardul Thakur . Incidentally neither of these three fast men were part of the original Test squad. Both Natarajan and Thakur stayed back after the white-ball leg of the Australia tour to join Tyagi as net bowlers.
The fairy tale for Indian pacer T. Natarajan is continuing. First from being net-bowler he made it to the ODI and T20 playing XI and now the team management in Australia also told him to stay for the Test series. As the Indian white-ball squad has left Australia, Natarajan along with Shardul Thakur, and Washington Sundar have stayed back with the Test squad.
Shardul Thakur will be staying back because team management feels as Ishant Sharma is now ruled out from the series, they require some back-up. Natarajan, a standout performer in the T20 Series has been asked to stay back because of his form and variety
Shami, who batted at No.11, sustained the injury while fending awkwardly at a short delivery from Pat Cummins on Saturday. After being taped on his right forearam Shami decided to bat on, but then signalled he could not continue and walked back to the dressing room. He didn’t return to bowl either in the fourth innings.
At the post match presentation India captain Virat Kohli said Shami was in “pain” and could not even raise his bowling hand. Shami’s absence means the Indian fast bowling attack is now left with only Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini and Mohammad Siraj . Both Saini and Siraj are uncapped in Test cricket.
The Indian team management has a difficult choice to make on who should replace Shami in the Test squad. Thakur, who plays for Mumbai, is the most experienced seamer among the reserves, with 206 wickets at an average of 28.55 in first-class cricket. Natarajan, a left-arm seamer, 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 limited experience having picked up 64 wickets in 20 matches at 27.03.
Twenty-year-old Tyagi was part of the India Under-19 side that 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 agains Australia A recently, going wicketless. He has played two matches for Uttar Pradesh in the Ranji Trophy, picking up three wickets.