Jharkhand’s left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem has been added to the Test squad for Ranchi Test against South Africa, which starts tomorrow. He has been called up as a backup to Kuldeep Yadav, who complained of pain in his left shoulder.
India are likely to play three spinners in the final Test and Nadeem could be handed his Test debut if Kuldeep is deemed unfit.
Nadeem, a veteran of 110 first-class matches, has scalped 424 wickets at 28.59. He has been a regular in India A squads for long but with R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja keeping their spots, a Test call-up never came for Nadeem.
He was also the part of the ‘A’ series which was played before the Test series where he scalped eight wickets.
He was surprisingly called up to the T20I squad for the home West Indies last year but wasn’t handed a debut.
Kuldeep, who will hope to get fit for the Test, hasn’t played a Test since Australia tour. He had scalped a fifer in his previous Test but neither got a chance in West Indies nor he was picked for the first two Tests.
Looking at conditions, India are likely to play three spinners in Ranchi and one of the pacers is likely to be kept out.
The batting order is expected to be unchanged. India might be tempted to add Hanuma Vihari in the playing XI but a lot will depend on the pitch.
South Africa will have two forced changes in the playing XI as Keshav Maharaj and Aiden Markram have been ruled out of the final Test.
Maharaj had suffered a shoulder injury during the second Test in Pune. On the other hand, Markram was ruled out due to a self-inflicted injury as he fractured his wrist by punching an object during the second Test.
India are leading the series 2-0 and will eye a whitewash against the visitors. South Africa have an onerous task and are unlikely to pull off a surprise against Virat Kohli and co.