'He has to come in, there is no question about it': Gavaskar suggests changes for India for 5th Test against England
India were without two of their premier fast bowlers in the Oval Test – Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma – and arguably the best spinner in the world in Ravichandran Ashwin – and yet they managed to script a terrific comeback in the fourth Test to beat England by 157 runs and acquire a 2-1 lead. This shows the bench strength of the team. It was never in doubt, but the last test was just another example of the tremendous talent and potential this unit possesses.
Umesh Yadav and Shardul Thakur, the two pacers who replaced Ishant and Shami – performed splendidly. Umesh grabbed three wickets in each innings, while Thakur, despite picking up three wickets in the match, also sizzled with the bat, hitting twin half-centuries. This promises to throw the Indian think tank in quandary as far as selection for the fifth Test in Manchester is concerned. With Shami reportedly fit, does he return to the Playing XI? And if yes, at whose expense?
Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar weighed in on the possible changes the Indian team might make for the fifth and the final Test at Old Trafford starting Friday, and believes that irrespective of whatever happens, Shami should 'walk into the team'.
"Shami walks into the team. There's no question about it. The only question is... whether Shami comes in place of Siraj - because he was just off colour in this particular game - so that's the only area where I see the opportunity to make a chance. But he has to come in, there's no question about it," Gavaskar had said on the Sony Sports Network at the end of the 4th Test.
The former India batsman also weighed in on the chances of India giving Jasprit Bumrah a break and probably resting him for the final game of the series, which could make the selection headache a bit easy for India. Gavaskar is not in favour of the move since India are yet to win the series and Virat Kohli cannot risk keeping his premier fast bowler out of the Test.
"I think in my view, you're still playing for India and the series is yet to be won. If you are 2-0 up, then rest Bumrah, but we still haven't won the series so Bumrah has to play," Gavaskar added.