Mohammed Siraj could be very handy Down Under: MSK Prasad
With two senior pacers, Bhuvneshwar Kumar (thigh injury) and Ishant Sharma (side strain) all but ruled out, Navdeep Saini will certainly be the fourth pacer after Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Umesh Yadav
Hyderabad's Mohammed Siraj will fight it out with Mumbai's Shardul Thakur to claim the fifth bowler's spot in the Test format for the upcoming Australia tour while Gujarat left-arm spinner Axar Patel is also likely to be in contention for a place in India's consolidated squad. With the two white ball series (T20Is and ODIs) slated before the marquee four-Test rubber, the selection committee under Sunil Joshi's chairmanship is expected to pick a jumbo squad for all three formats when it meets later this week.
With two senior pacers, Bhuvneshwar Kumar (thigh injury) and Ishant Sharma (side strain) all but ruled out, Navdeep Saini will certainly be the fourth pacer after Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Umesh Yadav. The fifth pacer's slot in the Test series may go to Siraj, who has done well in the longer version for India 'A' and his Ranji Trophy side.
Shardul Thakur, who can swing the new ball, will also jostle for that place. He had a nightmarish Test debut against West Indies when he suffered a muscle pull while bowling his very first over. "Siraj has really done well for India 'A' over the past few seasons. He is a better red ball bowler and could be very handy in Australian conditions," former chairman of selectors MSK Prasad said.
According to Prasad, the new selection committee could look at Shivam Mavi who he thinks has it in him to become an all-format bowler in near future. "Mavi could be given exposure as an extra pacer at least in white ball and may be groomed later for red ball," Prasad opined. Shardul and his CSK teammate Deepak Chahar will certainly be a part of the limited overs segment where Umesh Yadav is unlikely to find a place.
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