Mohammed Shami has been ruled out of the remainder of the Test series against Australia after he was diagnosed with a fractured arm. This comes as huge blow to the Indian squad who lost the first Test after a dismal batting collapse in the second innings. Moreover, India will also miss the services of Virat Kohli for the last three Test matches, who flies back home after being granted a paternity leave by BCCI.
India will have plenty of options to consider to replace Shami in the playing eleven ahead of the second Test match against Australia which begins on the Boxing Day, December 26. We will have a look at some of the fast bowling options who can replace Shami in the playing XI.
Mohammad Siraj is the frontrunner to occupy the slot left vacant by Shami. Siraj is yet to make his Test debut and will be looking forward to getting off the mark in Test cricket. Siraj was part of both the practice games against Australia A where he picked up three wickets in total. He was impressive in both the practice games and is an ideal replacement for Shami.
Navdeep Saini is another candidate to replace Shami in the playing XI. Saini was part of the Test squad that lost to New Zealand earlier this year, but did not get a chance to make his debut. Saini played only the second practice match against Australia A, where he picked up three wickets. He played the opening two ODIs against Australia but was removed from the playing XI after poor performances. The Australian pitch will definitely offer good bounce and assistance to Saini.
T.Natarajan and Kartik Tyagi
Natarajan who made his ODI and T20I debut against Australia in this same tour, has stayed back with the Indian squad as a net bowler to help the batsman prepare better. He has been bowling well in the nets and has found the edges and beaten players like Rahane and Pujara. It would be a fairytale ending for Natarajan’s first tour as he would end up making his debut in all formats if he is called upon to replace Shami.
Kartik Tyagi was part of the second warm-up match. It was his bouncer that hit Will Pucovski on the helmet, which has kept him out of the first two Test matches against India. Tyagi has also bowled some brilliant deliveries to the batsman in the nets.
Ravindra Jadeja suffered a concussion in the first T20I against Australia, which kept him out of the remainder of the T20I series and the first Test. However, in some good news for the Indian fans, the all rounder has gone from doing sprints to batting and bowling in the nets. It is highly unlikely that he will come in as a like for like replacement for Mohammed Shami. He can be brought into the playing eleven in place of Hanuma Vihari.