India pacer Umesh Yadav, who hobbled off the field on Day 3 of the Boxing Day Test against Australia with tearing pain in his calf muscle, has been ruled out of the remaining two Tests of the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
While left-arm fast bowler T Natarajan has been drafted into the Indian squad as Umesh’s replacement, India opener-turned-commentator Aakash Chopra wants Navdeep Saini to play as the third pacer for the visitors in the New Year’s Test at SCG.
"It's quite hard on India how things have been happening in Australia. Whenever things start going their way something bad happens. How much a team can endure like this? India have three main pacers- Bumrah, Shami, Ishant and all of them brought different things to plate. But firstly, Ishant got injured but still India had Shami and Bumrah. But then even Shami got injured too. To add insult to injury, India have now even lost Umesh Yadav, the back-up bowler," Chopra said on his YouTube channel.
"There are three main contenders to replace Umesh Yadav - T Natarajan, Shardul Thakur and Navdeep Saini. Natarajan has not played much first-class cricket. He has been doing well in white-ball cricket which has given birth to the greed of playing him in Tests as well but too much greed is never a good thing. Saini and Shardul are better options than Natarajan. Talking about Saini, I am little biased for him. He has played double the FC games than Natarajan. But, given the experience he has gained in last year or so at the top-level, he can be a good option," he explained.
Aakash Chopra concluded by opining that Saini can be the best option to play as third seamer. Irrespective of who plays, he feels that the replacement for Umesh should do a good hold up job.
"Shardul has played most FC games, he's a hit the deck hard bowler and can be an option. But, I feel Saini is the best option to play the SCG Test. I really hope whoever plays does a good holding job."
Team had won the Boxing Day Test by 8 wickets to level the series at 1-1. The third Test will be played in Sydney from January 7.