Pragyan Ojha, former India spinner opined that Shardul Thakur’s ability to swing the ball will perfectly complement Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Siraj’s pace.
Umesh Yadav’s calf muscle injury has left India to choose between the relatively inexperienced pace duo alongside T Natarajan for the third Test against Australia, starting on Thursday, January 7.
Pragyan Ojha: Shardul Thakur Is Someone Who Can Swing The Ball Unlike Navdeep Saini Who Can Hit The Deck
Shardul Thakur is known to swing the ball in the air, while Navdeep Saini is a tall bowler who delivers with pace and hits the deck hard.
Speaking on Sports Today, Pragyan Ojha shed light on the contrast, while adding the team management would understand the situation better to select a pacer from the trio.
“I think you have a choice. It’s a very clear choice. Shardul Thakur, who can swing the ball. His strength is swinging the ball, we need someone who can swing the ball. We have someone who can bowl fast, that is Mohammad Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah. They can move the ball off the wicket, they’re quick,” said Pragyan Ojha.
“But if you want someone who can swing the ball then you can go for Shardul Thakur. And if you want someone who can bowl quick and hit the deck, you’ve got Navdeep Saini. So this a luxury for you [Team India], at this point also when you have so many injuries. It’s up to the team management what they want,” Pragyan Ojha, who has picked 144 wickets in 24 Tests, 18 ODIs and 6 T20Is, reasoned.
While Shardul Thakur has taken 206 wickets at a strike-rate of 54.1 from 62 first-class games averaging 28.55, Navdeep Saini has scalped 128 wickets at 59.9 in 46 first-class matches averaging 28.46.
Shardul Thakur played a solitary Test but couldn’t bowl more than 10 balls. Navdeep Saini was too expensive in first 2 ODIs, while Shardul Thakur picked 3 wickets in Canberra ODI.
Deep Dasgupta: Shardul Thakur Can Make Use Of Overcast Conditions
There is a forecast of overcast skies and thunderstorms in Sydney which may lead to the red cherry ball moving relatively more in the air which will help Shardul Thakur. Former India wicketkeeper-batsman Deep Dasgupta highlighted this very aspect, saying that pacer Shardul Thakur can make optimum use of the overcast conditions.
“Both of them [Thakur and Saini] are very different kind of bowlers. While Shardul is a swing bowler, Navdeep is hit-the-deck kind of bowler. We already have Siraj and Bumrah like that, I don’t mind looking at Shardul Thakur. Somebody who can swing the ball three days, there will be overcast in Sydney. There is a forecast of storms. I won’t mind having someone like a Shardul Thakur,” Dasgupta told Sports Today.
After being humiliated in Adelaide after a batting disaster, India under stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane came back strongly to win the Boxing Day contest by eight wickets. India would want Umesh Yadav’s replacement in the third Test to put up a concerted wholehearted effort alongside Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj, and help the team build on the winning momentum. Both Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami are out with injury along with veteran Ishant Sharma but India have backup pacers to limit the losses.