India vs South Africa: Shardul Thakur gets an early call
A DAY after going down 2-0 in the Test series, the Indian team management have summoned Mumbai pacer Shardul Thakur to South Africa. It’s learnt that Thakur will be boarding a flight to Johannesburg on Friday night, having been withdrawn from Mumbai’s T20 squad for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. The call for the 26-year-old to join the touring party was confirmed by Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) joint secretary Unmesh Khanvilkar.
“We were informed by the BCCI that he (Thakur) will be going to South Africa soon which has meant that we’ve had to find a replacement for him at the last moment,” Khanvilkar told The Indian Express.
The exact reasons for Thakur’s premature departure for South Africa are still unclear. Thakur, the only fast bowler in the ODI squad who isn’t already there, was originally expected to leave with the other 50-over specialists, including the likes of MS Dhoni and Manish Pandey, on January 24. Thakur will be accompanied by Delhi pacer Navdeep Saini, who is expected to be one of the net bowlers. Saini will join Ankit Rajpoot, Mohammad Siraj, Avesh Khan and Basil Thampi who had traveled with Virat Kohli & Co to bowl to the Test batsmen in the nets.
It was a decision taken by the BCCI after the team management had complained about often not finding decent net bowlers on away tours. However, it remains to be seen whether Thakur too has been called as a net bowler before the third Test at the Wanderers or there is perhaps an injury concern in the Indian pace attack. For the record, chief selector MSK Prasad had hinted that some of the ODI players “may go a bit early to acclimatise” while announcing the ODI squad last month.