Mohammad Shami has been ruled out of the remainder of the Border Gavaskar Test series with a fractured arm. The speedster suffered a blow to the forearm while batting and was immediately retired hurt. Shami didn’t even take the field in the Australian second innings and seemed to be in excruciating pain throughout.
It is understood that Shami underwent a scan immediately after the FIrst Test at Adelaide. The news of a fractured right forearm, coming in after India’s disastrous loss to Australia is also a big blow to the visitors’ chances to win a Test down under. India earlier was bowled out for 36, their lowest score ever in Test match history. Incidentally, it is also the lowest ever in modern-era Test cricket, not the record India would like to have. With Virat Kohli departing for parenting duties, India will face an uphill task of revival in the remaining three Tests starting with the traditional Boxing Day Test at Melbourne this Saturday.
BCCI is yet to announce any official development on Shami’s future but it is likely that the pacer will play no longer part in the Test series. BCCI might look at potential replacements in the three net-bowlers traveling with the team, Kartik Tyagi, T Natarajan, and Shardul Thakur. Meanwhile, experts also suggest that India should even look at Ishant Sharma as an option for injured Shami if the fast bowler is now fit. Indian legend, Sunil Gavaskar while talking to Sports Tak said, “If Ishant Sharma is fit, I am suggesting to send him to Australia now. If he is capable of bowling 20 overs in a day, the management should send him to Australia on tomorrow’s flight so that he can be ready for the Sydney Test.”
Though India also has replacement options in the existing squad in uncapped bowlers, Mohammad Siraj and Navdeep Saini, none troubled the Australian batsmen much in the two practice matches before the Tests. Therefore, India’s balance going into the Boxing Day Test without Shami would be the one to look out for. Gavaskar, as well in his interview added, “I am saying India should look at taking a chance because there is no proper back-up now. Navdeep Saini has the potential to pick wickets but the way he bowled in the warm-up matches, it doesn’t look like he will be able to trouble the Australia batsmen.”
It will also be interesting to see Ajinkya Rahane, India’s stand-in captain’s, approach to the recent happenings. In the next three Tests, also crucial to India’s chances for qualification in the World Test Championship Finals, India will look to bounce back with sound changes. The void with the bat in Kohli’s absence and now with the ball due to Shami’s injury are huge slots to fill. Having said, India will have to cope up with the two reality checks, giving a chance for the youngsters to step up and to the veterans to structure the team’s back.