Former India cricketer Ajit Agarkar suggested that India should pick Shardul Thakur ahead of Umesh Yadav in the rescheduled fourth Test match against England starting from Friday. India were leading the series 2-1 last year before the final Test was abandoned owing to a COVID-19 outbreak in the visitors’ camp.
The visitors played an attacking brand of cricket last year and the pace-attack played a major role in that who worked collectively to pick England’s 20 wickets in three matches which put them on the backfoot. England batters apart from Joe Root failed to counter-attack the Indian pacers on their own soil.
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Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami being the senior players are going to be a certainty in the India XI for the postponed clash but the team management has a tough task to pick the other two if they decide to go with a four-pace attack like last year.
Replying to a News18 Cricketnext query at a select media interaction organised by Sony Sports Network, Agarkar said that Mohammed Siraj will get the place for sure and as he called him one of the most improved bowlers, especially in red-ball cricket.
“I think Siraj had a really good series last time when India played those four Tests and he is one of the most improved bowlers around at the moment. I don’t see any reason why Siraj would miss out,” Agarkar said.
Siraj endured a rough patch in the IPL this season as he picked only 9 wickets in 15 matches and leaked runs with over the economy rate of 10.
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While Agarkar feels that India should pick Shardul ahead of Umesh as he adds strength to the batting order. The veteran India pacer feels that choosing Umesh or Prasidh Krishna will stretch India’s tail which might backfire for them.
“Shardul Thakur offers a bit more with the bat at number 8 and if there is help for the seamers then he becomes even more effective if there is some swing on offer. I think that’s the way India will go otherwise the tail becomes a little bit too long if you look at someone like Umesh Yadav or even Prasidh Krishna who has been included in the squad for the one-off Test. Shardul probably would make if India go with four seamers,” he added.
Shardul has played seven Test matches for India so far and scored three half-centuries in them batting in crucial situations.
Last year, Bumrah was the leading wicket-taker for India in the four-Test with 18 scalps. While Siraj made a massive impact with his 14 wickets. Shami played three Test matches where he claimed 11, while Shardul managed to take 7 in the two matches. Umesh was picked for the fourth Test and he impressed many with his disciplined as he ended up picking six wickets in the clash to help India take a 2-1 lead.
(Watch the LIVE coverage of the much anticipated fifth Test between England and India on SONY SIX (English), SONY TEN 3 (Hindi), and SONY TEN 4 (Tamil & Telugu) channels starting from 1st July at 3:30 pm IST.)
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