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India add T Natarajan and Shardul Thakur to Test squad

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The Indian cricket team has included Thangarasu Natarajan and Shardul Thakur in their Test squad to face Australia for the remainder of the Test series. With veteran fast bowlers Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami side-lined with injuries, the visitors are short of experience in the bowling department.

Though an Ajinkya Rahane-masterclass in the Boxing Day Test match levelled the four-match Test series 1-1 for India, following a humiliating loss in the first Test match at Adelaide, the Men in Blue are running short of players and fast.

After Mohammed Shami got injured during the first Test match, Umesh Yadav became the latest player to join India’s injury list as he limped off the field with a calf injury during the second Test match. And BCCI has communicated that he won't be able to recover in time for the next two Test matches.  

“The All-India Senior Selection Committee has named T Natarajan as Yadav’s replacement. Ahead of the Boxing Day Test, Shardul Thakur was added to the Test squad as Mohd. Shami's replacement after the senior fast bowler suffered a hairline fracture in his right forearm,” BCCI’s media release read.

“Both Shami and Umesh Yadav will head to the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru for further rehabilitation of their injuries. Rohit Sharma has completed his quarantine and has now joined the Indian Cricket Team in Melbourne,” the release further read.

With debutants Mohammed Siraj and Shubman Gill performing exceedingly well in the Boxing Day Test at the MCG, the selectors have been encouraged to put inexperienced T Natarajan and Shardul Thakur on the firing line.

While Natarajan's international experience is limited to just four matches, one ODI and three T20Is, all of which were played in ongoing India's tour of Australia, Thakur has played just one international Test match when India hosted West Indies in 2018.

However, while the situation in India’s bowling department is precarious, Rahane will feel relieved to welcome ace batsman Rohit Sharma to the squad who joins as the vice-captain.

Feature Image Courtesy: AFP/ Brenton Edwards

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