Sanjay Bangar names 'must pick' in India's XI for South Africa Tests Photograph:( PTI )
Former Indian batting coach Sanjay Bangar has named who should be a 'must' in India's XI for the South Africa Tests.
Shardul Thakur's stocks have risen in the last couple of years. With him picking up key wickets for the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the last few seasons, he became a part of India's white-ball formats before the Australia Tests, during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2020/21 edition, displayed his all-round skills to the fore.
In India's five-match Test series versus England in the United Kingdom, Shardul once again made heads turn with his bowling and batting, especially during the fourth Test at The Oval, London with twin fifties and three key wickets. Hence, former Indian batting coach Sanjay Bangar feels the CSK fast-bowling all-rounder has to play all the three upcoming Tests versus South Africa, starting from December 26.
Highlighting his importance, Bangar told Star Sports, "There is definitely a place for Shardul Thakur because in all the major victories in the last season that have come for India, he has contributed and in overseas conditions, you require a batsman who can bowl a bit."
"He fits in that category because he can contribute with the bat and with the ball, he can contribute with a couple of wickets, as he displayed in the England series as well,” added Bangar.
Bangar further asserted that Shardul will fit in Kohli’s template of fielding four spinners and a spinner. "I would think the reasoning behind and the way the captain wants to have a say because ultimately it’s the captain’s team. Yes, Rahul Dravid can throw up some contrasting views because that is what a coach’s job is, probably put up his case and then see what the captain thinks.
“But prior to the Oval Test match, you already saw what Virat Kohli’s thought process suggests and from a distance, it seems that he is resigned to the fact that he wants to play with four seamers and one spinner in overseas conditions,” Bangar further emphasised.
It will be interesting to see what combination Team India goes ahead with in the forthcoming SA Tests. The all-rounders for the upcoming series are R Ashwin, Jayant Yadav, Shardul along with Hanuma Vihari (including his part-time off-spin). There is Deepak Chahar in the standby list as well. Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel will be missed, both of whom are out of action due to injury concerns.
India's Test squad for SA series:
Squad: Virat Kohli (captain), Priyank Panchal, KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jayant Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj
Standby Players: Navdeep Saini, Saurabh Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Arzan Nagwaswalla