Former India spinner Pragyan Ojha feels pacer Shardul Thakur will prove to be an ideal foil for Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj in the third Test against Australia because of his ability to swing the ball.
With Umesh Yadav following Ishant Sharma and Mohammad Shami in the list of India’s injured first-choice fast bowlers, the team management is left with a selection headache when it comes to the selection of the third paceman for the Sydney Test.
Thakur, Navdeep Saini and T Natarajan are in contention to get the nod for the important role. Natarajan offers the left-arm variety, Saini is known for his pace and neck of hitting the deck hard, whereas Thakur is a good exponent of the swing and seam.
Thakur’s Strength Is to Swing The Ball: Pragyan Ojha
Ojha pointed out the contrasting features of the three fast bowlers and backed Thakur to add to his tally of Test caps after an injury-ravaged debut back in 2018 in Hyderabad.
“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,” Ojha told Sports Today.
“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,” he added.
Thakur has played 62 First-Class games and taken 206 wickets at an average of 28.55. The 29-year-old has been part of the set-up for a while now. He was handed his Test debut against West Indies two years back. On debut, Thakur, unfortunately, picked up an injury and had to walk off the field. If he plays at the SCG, the paceman will look to rectify that and help India win.
Shardul Thakur Can Take Advantage Of The Overcast Conditions in Sydney: Deep Dasgupta
Former India wicketkeeper Deep Dasgupta also gave his views in the debate around the third pacer. Dasgupta said Thakur can prove very effective in overcast conditions which are believed to be an aid for swing movement. The weather forecast is for thunderstorms in Sydney at the time of the New Year’s Test, starting January 7.
“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,” Dasgupta told Sports Today.
“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,” he added.
Team India pulled off a historic win in the second Test in Melbourne after having suffered a humiliating defeat in Adelaide the game before. With the series level 1-1, the visitors need one more win to be able to retain the prestigious Border-Gavaskar Trophy.