MUMBAI: Thangarasu Natarajan’s stocks continue to rise. The left-arm seamer from Tamil Nadu who made his ODI and T20I debuts during the limited-overs leg of India’s ongoing tour of Australia, may earn his maiden Test cap in the third Test, which will be played at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). India won the second Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground by eight wickets to square the series 1-1.
TOI has learnt from reliable sources in the BCCI that the 29-year-old Natarajan, who took two for 70 on his ODI debut and then scalped six wickets in the three-match T20 International series at an economy rate of 6.91, is set to replace fast bowler Umesh Yadav, who suffered a calf injury and could bowl only 3.3 overs in the second innings of the second Test at the MCG. Yadav has been ruled out of the third Test.
“The selectors had added Shardul Thakur (Mumbai paceman) as a replacement for Mohammed Shami (out with a fractured forearm), and there is Navdeep Saini too, but it’s very much likely that Natrajan would be preferred given that he brings variation to the attack. Also, Like Mitchell Starc does for Nathan Lyon, he would create footmarks which spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja can exploit,” a source said on Sunday.
Rohit, Rahul comebacks likely too
By all indications, Rohit Sharma, who has completed his quarantine period in Sydney, will play in the third Test, as will KL Rahul, who is yet to play a game in the Tests. That would mean the out-of-form opener Mayank Agarwal being given a ‘break’ and the dropping of middle-order batsman Hanuma Vihari too.
Agarwal has managed just 31 runs in two Tests@7.75, while Vihari has put together 45 email@example.com. “Rohit can either open the innings, or come at No 5, since he can then get time to find his groove after quarantining recently. If he plays in the middle-order, KL can open the innings, or it can be vice-versa,” said the source.