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IND v AUS 2020: Who is going to replace Mohammed Shami for the Boxing Day Test?

December 23, 2020

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Mohammed Shami has been ruled out of the ongoing Test series with a fracture on his right forearm. The management's search for a replacement has already kicked-off. The top two options for the position are Navdeep Saini and Mohammed Siraj.  Both the pacers are yet to make their Test debut for India.

In consideration of the preceding discussion, let us have a look at the two bowlers in terms of their first-class performances:

Navdeep Saini v Mohammed Siraj - International Numbers

Saini has featured in 79 first-class innings so far whereas Siraj has played 67 matches. Although Siraj has played 12 fewer games than Saini, Siraj has grabbed 152 wickets. On the other hand, Saini has picked up only 128.

Siraj also brags a brilliant bowling-average of 23.44 while Saini averages 28.46 in International cricket. Both the top-notch pacers have four five-wicket hauls to their name. Saini's best bowling figures are 6-32 whereas Siraj's top figures are 8-59.

Navdeep Saini or Mohammed Siraj - Who holds the advantage?

Team India is likely to continue with their blue-chip bowler, Bumrah and Yadav for the upcoming Boxing Day Test. The Indian team management will be looking for one seamer that will be the best replacement of the injured Mohammed Shami.

From the two possibilities available, Siraj is marginally ahead of Saini in the pecking order. The 26-year-old has performed brilliantly during the recently-concluded warm-up matches against Australia-A.

Siraj featured in both practice games and ended up taking five wickets. Saini, on the other side, collectively picked up three wickets. It will be exciting to see which of these two bowlers can meet all the criteria of a useful 3rd seamer.

The Indian side is already low on confidence after the defeat in the first test, and now the team will be without two of their biggest stars, Virat Kohli and Mohammed Shami.

The visitors will again take on Australia in the 2nd Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy at the MCG. India's top-order batsman Rohit Sharma has already landed in Australia but is still in quarantine. He would mostly be available only for the final two Tests.

Rahane will take the captaincy reins of Team India in the absence of Kohli. The stand-in captain is expected to make several changes before the next significant encounter. The top two cricketing nations will now lock horns for their 2nd Test face-off on 26th December 2020.

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