Ind vs Aus 4th Test: Another big scare for Team India, now R Ashwin also doubtful for series decider in Brisbane: As India prepare for fourth and final Brisbane Test with the series tied 1-1, the team resembles a mini-hospital and coach Ravi Shastri and skipper Ajinkya Rahane would be at their wits’ end to put together a fit eleven after Ravichandran Ashwin joined the list of injured cricketers.
After Ashwin came up with a heroic effort with his bat to help India draw the third Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground, his wife Prithi revealed that the off-spinner had woken up with a “tweak” in his back that had left him in “unbelievable pain”.
Moreover, during his heroic stay at the crease in Sydney, Ashwin faced some hostile short-pitched bowling. He looked in visible discomfort facing those deliveries as he took blows on his arms, chest and abdomen and to make matters worse, Ashwin’s back spasms have aggravated after battling for three hours on the final day, leaving little options for India on the bench.
Ind vs Aus 4th Test: How Ashwin’s absence can affect Team India?
It goes without saying that Ashwin is one of the key players in India’s Test squad and he proved it on Monday, when the 34-year-old along with Hanuma Vihari went on to bat out 42.4 overs to ensure India avoid a defeat in Sydney.
But more than the bat, Ashwin’s wicket-taking ability and consistency makes him one of the dangerous spinners in Test cricket currently. The off-spinner has bagged 12 wickets in the ongoing Test series against Australia and his victim list includes some of the big names. Not to forget that Ashwin has got better of the World no. 2 Test batsman Steve Smith thrice in the series, thus making the former Australian skipper his bunny.
Ind vs Aus 4th Test: Washington Sundar in line to replace Ashwin
Washington Sundar, who stayed back in Australia to help the team during net sessions, is now been considered as Ashwins’s replacement for the Brisbane Test. Sundar’s all-round skills makes him the top contender to find a place in the playing XI just in case Ashwin is ruled out of the fourth Test in Brisbane.
Notably, Sundar averages a decent 31.29 in first-class cricket and has held his own in the domestic circuit over the last four years.
“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.
“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).
“Kuldeep can’t bat and key at the Gabba will be putting runs on the board,” they add, contemplating the right replacement for an invaluable Ravindra Jadeja.
Ind vs Aus 4th Test: Mayank Agarwal tipped to replace Vihari also struggling with injury
Mayank Agarwal – Agarwal: Hit on the arm – Scan results awaited.
Agarwal who is tipped to replace injured Vihari in XI, suffered a blow on his gloves during a nets session in Sydney and is now awaiting reports of scan. Though sources informed InsideSport that the blow doesn’t look too serious but if otherwise – the only team will have is to bring in Prithvi Shaw in the XI. The other option could be that Rishabh Pant plays as a specialist batsman and Wriddhiman Saha can be added as a wicketkeeper.
Other Playing XI players injured
R Ashwin: Back pain Very stiff – On painkillers.
Cheteshwar Pujara: Finger injury. Playing with painkillers.
Rishabh Pant: Bruised left elbow. On high dosage of painkillers and sedatives.
Test team players already ruled out of the series
Hanuma Vihari: Right hamstring tear. Out of series
KL Rahul: Sprained Wrist. Out of series
Ravindra Jadeja: Dislocated left thumb. Out of series
Jasprit Bumrah: Strained abdomen. Doubtful for 4th Test
Mohammad Shami: Fractured right arm after first Test.
Umesh Yadav: Calf injury. Out of series
Shardul to replace Jadeja: Team India is likely to go for the ‘like-for-like’ replacement and replace all-rounder Jadeja with Thakur, who is himself a bowling all-rounder. Moreover, Shardul was earlier in contention to play the SCG Test before the Indian think tank opted to compliment Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj with pacer Navdeep Saini.
Ind vs Aus 4th Test: T Natarajan to replace Bumrah?
Bumrah almost ruled out of 4th Test: It has emerged that Bumrah has sustained an abdominal injury that has jeopardized his place for the final Test in Brisbane. With England series and place in the World Test Championship Finals on stake team will not risk Bumrah for this match. With not many options left to replace Bumrah, it is no brainer that pacer Natarajan will make his debut. Natrajan recently made his successful limited-overs debut in Australia and impressed everyone in the ODI and T20I series.
However, just in case Ashwin is declared fit for the series decider then, Indian think tanks might prefer Washington over Natarajan to replace Bumrah.
India’s Predicted XI vs Australia for 4th Test: Shubman Gill, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Mayank Agarwal/Wriddhiman Saha, Rishabh Pant, Shardul Thakur, Ravichandran Ashwin (doubtful), T Natarajan / Washington Sundar, Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini