Legendary Australian wicketkeeper-batsman Adam Gilchrist picked one of T Natarajan and Navdeep Saini as India’s third paceman for the New Year’s Test against his countrymen starting January 7 at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Injury to Umesh Yadav has left the Indian team management with a selection headache before the third Test. Umesh hurt his calf while bowling in the previous Test at the MCG and has been ruled out of the series.
In Umesh’s absence, Natarajan, Saini and Shardul Thakur are in contention to get the nod for the third paceman’s role. But only one can join Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj in the pace department. While Thakur is a capped Test bowler, both Natarajan and Saini are yet to make their debuts.
T Natarajan Would Have My Vote To Play The Sydney Test: Adam Gilchrist
Gilchrist backed Natarajan above Thakur and Saini as he would bring the left-arm variety to the Indian bowling attack for traditionally good batting conditions in Sydney.
“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,” Adam 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,” Adam Gilchrist added.
T Natarajan Has Had A Meteoric Rise With The Indian Team
After turning heads with his performances for Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in IPL 2020, T Natarajan arrived in Australia as only a net bowler with the Indian team. But the left-arm pacer soon made his ODI and T20I debuts against the Aussies because of injuries to finger-spinner Varun Chakravarthy and fast bowler Saini.
Natarajan picked up two wickets on his ODI debut in Canberra. He ended the T20I series as the leading wicket-taker with six scalps. He got included in the Test squad after Umesh’s injury. Now, he is in line to wear the prestigious whites in Sydney.