The Indian Cricket Team off late has been playing cricket on a very tight schedule and this has been taking a toll on its players in every way. Be it physical or mental health, in spite of all the precautions taken by the authorities and the players themselves, things have not been going exactly well when it comes to workload distribution among the players, especially the fast bowlers of the team as age creeps upon them.
Even the captain of the Indian team, Virat Kohli came out recently to point to the fact that how packed schedules and increased workloads have led to a dip in the performance of even the best of the pacers in the team. He said that the players who are in the squad do need rest and replacement players, who can fill in for the established players whenever required.
So here’s a look at 5 such players who could be a perfect fit for this role
1. Navdeep Saini
The pace bowling sensation from Delhi, Navdeep Saini has shown glimpses of his abilities in the matches that he has played for the Indian team so far. He has marked his presence on the radars of the selectors as a substitute for the senior bowlers in the side and a contender for being the spearhead of the Indian pace bowling unit.
He has shown that he has the ability to make the white ball talk at the highest level and also his red ball tricks in the domestic circuit. The 27-year-old has been a part of the Indian team for 5 One Day Internationals and 10 T20 International matches so far and his performance has been really good in all of them even though the figures might suggest otherwise. In ODIs, he has 5 wickets to his name and in the shortest format of the sport, he has been able to dismiss 13 batsmen so far, with an economy of 7.15.
It is pretty evident that he has the potential to make it big in international cricket and be a part of the core of the Indian bowling unit in the coming days. For now, he will have to capitalise on all the time that he spends with the Indian team, trying to learn new things from the seniors, whose shoes he would have to fill in the coming years.
2. Mohammed Siraj
A beautiful artist with the red cherry, Mohammed Siraj in the short period of time that he has played competitive cricket, has shown positive signs of becoming a part of the Indian team in the near future. Owing to his abilities and the workload that is taking a toll on the senior bowler of the side, he could soon find himself, filling in for any of the seniors as a substitute and subsequently worked his way up the hierarchy.
His run with the Indian team so far has been of only 4 matches, with all of them being played with the white ball, which is not his strong suit. And, hence the sub-par numbers. In the lone ODI he played, he was wicketless, giving away 76 runs in the 10 overs he bowled and in the 3 T20Is, he was able to manage a total of 3 wickets to his name, at a really high economy rate of 12.33. But, it is not that he has not been working on his skills with the white ball. He has been sweating it out with the white ball too and has also been refining his already strong skill set with the red ball.
All that he needs now is the right opportunity to prove his strengths in the longest format of the sport and also the white ball version of the game. But, for that to happen, he will have to wait for a vacancy created by the absence of a senior player and when that happens, he will have to pour his heart out into making it count.
3. Shardul Thakur
Shardul Thakur is one of those players who have had a kind of hit and miss run in the initial stages of their cricket career. His Test debut was cut short by an injury, in ODIs, he has managed to be a part of only 11 of them in 3 years and since 2018, he has played 14 T20 matches for the Indian team.
Though he has been in and out of the Indian team for the most part of his career, he has shown what he is capable of becoming in the future and how he can take place of the talented players that team India currently has in its set up. He has come in handy on a few occasions and has rescued team India from the jaws of a loss. This has shown how great he can become if he manages things in the right way in the coming days.
He can also be handy with the bat and he showed glimpses of this in the New Zealand tour. Having said that he will have to take each opportunity that comes his way in full seriousness in both the domestic circuit and the highest level and work his way into becoming the go-to bowler in case a senior player is not available to play any match.
4. Jaydev Undakat
One of the most expensive players in the Indian Premier League in the last two seasons, Jaydev Undakat’s name has been in and out of the reckoning for the Indian team for quite some time now. He has been doing well in IPL and the domestic circuit too but has not been able to break into the Indian team.
After an early international debut, where he was filling for the ace pacer Zaheer Khan against South Africa, things haven’t been going particularly well for him. Though he has been a part of 18 international matches for India, at no point was he a permanent member of the squad. With 22 wickets to his name, there is no doubt that he is made for the highest level and can do well if given the right number of opportunities.
His left arm bowling has proven to be critical in many matches for his domestic team and has won them many games. But, he is still waiting for India call-up where he gets the recognition that he deserves and will be a great successor to the current crop of pace bowlers that is there in the team.
5. Ishan Porel
One of the best talents in the Under 19 team in the recent years in terms of bowling, Ishan Porel does have a great chance of making it to the Indian team as a backup to the bowlers that are there in the squad at this time and then progress into becoming a mainstay of the attack as time goes by.
He does not have the pace like his mates, Kamlesh Nagarkoti or Shivam Mavi, but his accuracy has been a prime factor that has led to his rise in the recent times. Standing at 6 feet and 3 inches he also gets extra pace and bounce and this man knows how to capitalize on it. Part of the squad that won the Under 19 World Cup in 2018, his career has been on the track of greatness.
He will need to refine his skills a little more for the international level, do well in the Indian Premier League and the domestic circuit and there will be nothing that would be able to stop him from getting into the squad as a backup pacer soon.
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