Adam Gilchrist, former Australian wicket-keeper has preferred pacer T Natarajan over Shardul Thakur and Navdeep Saini to partner Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj in the Sydney clash commencing 7th January.
An injury to senior pacer Umesh Yadav in the 2nd Test has left India with a selection dilemma in the pace department. Umesh Yadav had injured his calf while bowling during Australia’s second innings of the second Test in Melbourne and was subsequently ruled out of the third and fourth Test.
Adam Gilchrist: T Natarajan Would Add Variety As Left Arm Pacer
Earlier, pacer Mohammed Shami was ruled out of 2nd, 3rd and 4th Tests after sustaining wrist injury while batting. Ishant Sharma also isn’t available for injury concerns. In Umesh Yadav’s absence, India have three pacers to look at who can replace the seasoned campaigner.
Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur and T Natarajan are in the fray for the third pacer’s slot in the SCG Test after they were added as backups for Tests and were not allowed to return home after the conclusion of limited-overs series.
Australian great Adam Gilchrist has named his pick between T Natarajan and Navdeep Saini for the third pacers’ slot in India’s playing XI for the third Test against Australia.
While Shardul Thakur has played only 1 Test, both T Natarajan and Navdeep Saini are yet to make their Test debuts. T Natarajan made his ODI and T20I debut in the ongoing tour and has had a meteoric rise for the visitors.
Adam Gilchrist believes the left-arm pacer brings in variety to the potent Indian pace attack comprising of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj and can prove to be a decent back-up for Umesh Yadav. Adam Gilchrist also said he would leave footmarks for spinner Ravichandran Ashwin to exploit.
“For the Indians, they too have a couple of changes in the offing with Rohit Sharma coming in as Ajinkya Rahane’s deputy and a bowling change being necessitated by the injury to Umesh Yadav. It would be an interesting call to make between Navdeep Saini and T Natarajan,” Gilchrist wrote in his column for Mid-day.
“The latter would have my vote because, as mentioned earlier in the series, I think he would add variety as a left-arm pacer and would also leave some handy footmarks for Ravichandran Ashwin to exploit. Natarajan and Saini have both had some time in the middle during the one-dayers and it would be interesting to see who among them will make his debut,” he added.
Roped in as a net bowler for the Australian tour initially, T Natarajan was handed his maiden T20I call-up after an injury to spinner Varun Chakravarthy. He was later also included in the ODI squad as the backup after Navdeep Saini complained of back spasms and made his debut in both formats. In the T20I series, T Natarajan was a stand out performer for India by being leading wicket-taker of both sides with six wickets in three games.
T Natarajan Though Is Behind In The Pecking Order For Less Experience
After an injury to Umesh Yadav, T Natarajan was included in the Test squad as well and is in line to make his Test debut after flaunting his Test jersey in a Twitter post on Tuesday. However, the left-arm pacer is said to be behind Navdeep Saini and Shardul Thakur in the pecking order as of now and is unlikely to feature in the SCG Test which gets underway from Thursday 7th January.
While Shardul Thakur has played 1 Test where he bowled only 10 balls suffering injury besides taking 206 wickets from 62 first-class games averaging 28.55, Navdeep Saini has scalped 128 wickets in 46 first-class matches averaging 28.46. T Natarajan has played only 20 first-class games and taken 64 wickets averaging 27.03.