While the talks of Washington Sundar replacing Ravindra Jadeja was evident for the all-rounder spot, team India are contemplating to feature a four-man pace attack at the Gabba if Ravichandran Ashwin is deemed unfit. The report also suggested that either way, Kuldeep Yadav might not feature.
Right from the time, India have reached Australia, injuries have haunted them across the board, with several players being ruled out of the series. The latest casualties in the dressing room are the trio - Jasprit Bumrah, Hanuma Vihari and Ravindra Jadeja. However, the TOI reports suggest that India might be in further trouble, with Ravichandran Ashwin suffering from a sore back.
That combined with Mayank Agarwal’s apparent injury in the net would mean that India would have exactly 14 players to select their playing XI for the Gabba Test. The report also added that the Indian management have enough trust in Washington Sundar to make his Test debut in the pace paradise Perth, either in place of Jadeja or Ashwin. However, if Ashwin is deemed unfit, the reports added that India will field a four-man pace attack for the first time in the series.
“Ashwin is in a bad shape. It’s a 40-60 for him, whether he can play. If he doesn’t, then there’s a chance India will go in with four pacers — Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Navdeep Saini and T Natarajan,” say those tracking developments, reported TOI.
“If Ashwin is fit, even then, including Sundar in the eleven will make sense because he can bat and gives an option in the bowling department (by dropping one pacer),” it added.
However, the sources ruled out of a possible return to the playing XI for Kuldeep Yadav, who impressed the management during the historic win in the 2018 series. Meanwhile, it also stated that the Indian team would trust Saini at the Gabba, owing to his raw pace and the bounce he can extract.
“The contemplation was never between Thakur and Natarajan. It’s between Saini and Natarajan. The Gabba is going to have a bit of bounce and seam — so Saini comes across as the right choice. There has to be some amount of trust going into it. But if Ashwin doesn’t play, the option of four seamers is going to be considered,” say those in the know.
India’s injury issues don’t end there, as Mayank Agarwal’s apparent knock has the management sweating. In case, the Karnataka batsman doesn’t regain fitness, the reports point at Prithvi Shaw to be part of the playing XI.
“Ideally, Mayank (Agarwal) would have fitted that slot. But he took a knock in the nets. He’s under observation. If Mayank is unavailable, Prithvi (Shaw) pads up. The rest of the line-up is more or less sorted, given the options,” sources say.