Who will replace Jasprit Bumrah for 4th India vs England Test? Rahul to return | Cricket - Hindustan Times
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Who will replace Jasprit Bumrah for 4th India vs England Test in Ranchi? KL Rahul-Rajat Patidar a straight swap?

Feb 20, 2024 06:39 AM IST

Who will replace Bumrah, the bowler who has picked nearly one-third of India's total wickets (60) in this series?

India are likely to rest Jasprit Bumrah in the fourth Test match against England, which will begin on Friday in Ranchi. In the series that was supposed to be dictated by the spinners, Bumrah stands at the top of the wicket-taking list with 17 scalps at at an impeccable average of 13.65. Nine of those were picked in the second Test match, in what was his best-ever performance on home soil, as India scripted a comeback win in Vizag before taking the lead in Rajkot in the third Test.

India's Jasprit Bumrah successfully appeals for leg before wicket (LBW) against England's Zak Crawley during the fourth day of the third Test cricket match between India and England(AFP)
India's Jasprit Bumrah successfully appeals for leg before wicket (LBW) against England's Zak Crawley during the fourth day of the third Test cricket match between India and England(AFP)

Across the three matches of the series so far, Bumrah has bowled 80.5 overs, the most among Indian bowlers, and hence rightfully needs a break in Ranchi, keeping workload management in mind. However, it subsequently raises the question of who would replace Bumrah, the bowler who has picked nearly one-third of India's total wickets (60) in this series.

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Mukesh Kumar vs Akash Deep

India have maintained a two-seamer, three-spinner combination in the series so far, which fetched the hosts a 108-run win in the second Test and a record 434-run win in the third. Hence, if the team management stick to their strategy, one between Akash and Mukesh could form the pace lineup alongside Mohammed Siraj in Ranchi. Mukesh was released by the Indian squad ahead of the third Test after a fairly quiet performance in Vizag, where he returned with figures of 1 for 70. However, the fast bowler picked up a career-best 10 for 50 at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata in Bengal's final Ranji Trophy league game against Bihar. On the back of that performance, India might recall Mukesh, or make a bold call and hand Akash his maiden international cap. The Bengal quick recently picked up 11 wickets in two India A matches, which included two four-wicket hauls.

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How about an extra spinner?

India could, however, alter their strategy and use an extra spinner. Barring the third Test, the use of a second seamer by India has been limited, with Siraj delivering just 11 overs in the Hyderabad tie, while Mukesh bowled 12 overs in the second Test. If Ranchi dishes out a rank turner, India will be tempted to add one between Axar Patel and Washington Sundar to the XI to accompany the existing spin lineup comprising Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav.

Who will make way for KL Rahul?

The India batter had missed the second Test match of the series owing to quadriceps pain and later failed to recover in time for the third Test. However, the middle-order batter is all set to return for the match in Ranchi, as confirmed by the India captain himself. “He seems to be good,” Rohit Sharma said on Sunday in the post-match presser.

If Rahul returns, Rajat Patidar, who failed to leave a big impression in his first two Tests, will have to make way. The right-hander, who made his debut in Vizag, has so far scored only 46 runs in four innings, which includes a duck.

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