Team India find themselves in a flimsy situation before the five-match Test series in England with the possibility of losing the service of their first-choice wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha.
According to the reports in CricketNext, Saha’s recovery from the thumb injury hasn’t gone as per plan and he was seen sporting a soft plaster even last week. Dinesh Karthik, who replaced Saha for the one-off Test against Afghanistan last month, is likely to continue in the role.
“Saha’s injury hasn’t healed as per plan and to be fair there isn’t a chance that he would be match-fit when the team takes the field in the first game. Even though he was working on his fitness all this while, he could not keep wickets or bat with the soft plaster on. Game time is also something that the current management is looking into and it has been a while since Saha last played any form of cricket,” a source close to the development told CricketNext.
“Some of the Test specialists are already in England and will be a part of the unofficial Test against the England Lions and Saha now doesn’t look like he will make it even for the Essex game. In such a circumstance it is only fair that someone like Karthik gets his chance as the player has been with the team and is aware of the conditions on offer. Also, he was the one called in to replace Saha for the Afghanistan Test,” he added.
Having made his return to India’s limited-overs squad in October 2017, Karthik has done a fairly good job in the lower middle order. He became an overnight star after his last-ball six against Bangladesh that helped India clinch the Nidahas T20I tri-series in March.
Given that Karthik has played an instrumental role in India’s Test series win on English soil back in 2007, he can certainly prove to be a key figure on this tour as well.
On the other hand, Jasprit Bumrah’s injury is also a concerned for the team as he is expected to play a vital role in the pace department along with Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who is currently struggling with a stiff back.
Apparently, speedster Mohammad Shami has passed the mandatory Yo-Yo fitness test last week and is waiting to board the flight to England once the Test team is announced. Shami was one of the stars of Indian bowling attack that had taken 60 wickets during the three-match Test series against South Africa earlier this year. The 28-year-old had scalped 15 wickets in that series at an incredible average of 17.06. He was instrumental in India’s victory in the third Test at Wanderers. Owing to Shami’s 5 for 28, India had won the Wanderers Test by 63 runs.
The selectors are likely to announce the squad after the ongoing ODI series and could even wait for the India A’s unofficial Test against England Lions to get over on July 19.