Fresh developments indicate another severe blow for the Indian team as fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah was ruled out of the Brisbane Test due to an injury sustaining from an abdominal strain. In a quote received from a source in BCCI to PTI, the BCCI noted,
“Jasprit Bumrah suffered an abdominal strain while fielding in Sydney. He is going to sit out of the
As far as the test match series go, it cannot get any more dramatic than this. The ongoing Border-Gavaskar series in Australia has been quite a mixed series with a series of interesting developments on the part of both teams.
The Indian team has been plagued by a string of injuries and the departure of the specialist batsman and regular skipper Virat Kohli hasn’t been exactly eventful. However, as was witnessed in the previous tests a few select performances from Ashwin, Rahane and Jasprit Bumrah has helped solidify Team India’s performance down under.
Brisbane Test but is expected to be available against England.”
Jasprit Bumrah has been at the forefront of the Indian bowling attack in the current series. While fielding in Sydney he had suffered a strain, scans have confirmed of the same. The Indian team did not wish to risk Bumrah playing in the Brisbane test since the injury could aggravate and thereby pose a problem for the home series against England to be played from February.
Mayank Agarwal set to replace Hanuman Vihari
Apart from this fresh development Mayank Agarwal who was set to replace Hanuman Vihari at the Brisbane test has also sustained a hairline fracture. Meanwhile, Ashwin’s valiant efforts with the bat on the final day of the third test has aggravated his back injury and chances are that even he would not recover completely before the test at Gabba.
Jasprit Bumrah injury while problematic is not extremely serious. The Indian team management can perhaps take solace from the fact that he will recover in time for the four-match test series against England. Additionally, there is also the concern of qualifying for the World Test Championship. As the BCCI source noted:
“If we take the risk of him playing at 50 percent what if the injury aggravates and he breaks down in the middle of the match and then ruled out for the better part of England series? […] England is the last series which will decide the qualification for World Test Championship final and we are in contention and would require a fit Jasprit Bumrah.”
Shardul or Natarajan likely to replace Jasprit Bumrah
It is in this regard that replacing Bumrah has become a nightmare for the Indian team. While it will be virtually impossible to fill in Jasprit Bumrah’s shoes; Siraj, who has played just two tests would be expected to rise to the occasion and lead the bowling attack. He will be assisted by Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur, and T Natarajan.
Both Thakur and T Natarajan have no significant experience playing in Australian conditions. Let alone test matches at the international level. It would therefore be interesting to see how these two can cope up with the conditions in Australia.
The inherent problem that the Indian team has been facing from the start of the series is the absence of a collective squad. Virat Kohli left on maternity leave; Jasprit Bumrah injured during the Sydney test; Rohit Sharma joined from the second test and the string of injuries; which have accumulated by the members of the side has left the squad extremely truncated in terms of holistic performance.
After KL Rahul’s injury, middle-order batsman Hanuma Vihari has acquired a grade 2 tear. This technically leaves the Indian middle order in an extremely volatile position. Since the other possible replacements in this position would be the two openers, Mayank Agarwal and Prithvi Shaw. Given that both the openers of the first test were not exactly among runs; this could be a problem for the middle order going into the Gabba Test.
Going into Brisbane Test it would be interesting to see how Team India can tackle this problem of players. But considering the fact that their core strength has almost been depleted; they would look to stick to the basics and play four bowlers and six batsmen. The cards have been dealt and while India looks to be on the back foot at the moment; only time will tell how they come out of the Gabba Test.