IND vs ENG 3rd Test: Ajinkya Rahane confirms Shardul Thakur’s recovery, will he return to Playing XI? – Virat Kohli’s Team India have yet another selection dilemma ahead of the 3rd Test at Headingley, Leeds, starting August 25. Vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane, on Monday, confirmed that Shardul Thakur’s recovery, throwing a big puzzle for people to solve on the Playing XI. However, he kept the Playing XI close to his chest.
That both teams had an eight-day gap after the 2nd Test helped Shardul Thakur make a full recovery while the fast bowlers too had enough time to recover from fatigue after bowling 152 overs at Lord’s.
IND vs ENG 3rd Test: “Shardul Thakur is fit and available for selection for the 3rd Test. Now, we have to look at which combination we are going with. All the fast bowlers are ready to play and they want to play as the break after the 2nd Test helped,” Ajinkya Rahane said at the pre-match press conference on Monday.
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) August 23, 2021
IND vs ENG 3rd Test: That however leaves with more questions than answers. Ishant Sharma made it to the Playing XI in Shardul Thakur’s absence. He had a good spell with 5 wickets from the match with a brilliant average of 16.40. The other three pacers — Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj and Mohammed Shami — did well to bowl out England for 120 in the 2nd innings and win the Lord’s Test by 151 runs. Considering that, Shardul Thakur may have to wait for his chance.
IND vs ENG 3rd Test: The other factor that goes against him is the conditions in Leeds. As per the UK MET Office, the weather will remain clear with less than a 10% chance of rain. That means the pitch is expected to be dry. Add in the mix Michael Holding’s comment that the pitch will be on the flatter side and suddenly three pacers and two spinner combination looks more real. But Ajinkya Rahane isn’t very concerned about the conditions.
“We will take a call on the Playing XI now. We are not thinking too much about the conditions and whatever Headingley has to offer. We just want to give our best, all players are in a good headspace and it is about putting our best foot forward,“ Ajinkya Rahane said.
The other area that the team will need to answer is Cheteshwar Pujara. With Suryakumar Yadav available for selection, he is an option but the Mumbaikar hasn’t played any red-ball cricket in over 18 months while Pujara found his groove after some time in the last match. Ajinkya Rahane backed Pujara but didn’t reveal whether the team has a change in heart about continuously trusting him.
“It was all about hanging in there, communication was all about thinking about small targets and building on from there. We always talk about Pujara playing slow, but his innings was really important, he batted for 200 balls. We backed each other. I thought communication was really good. We knew 170-180 could have been a very good score on that wicket,” Rahane said.
“We are not taking it lightly, whatever happened in the last game was special but we have moved on and we are focused on the next Test. We are taking it one match at a time, win or lose, it is important to stay in the present. We are confident about our unit, we have been playing some good cricket and it is about staying in the moment and focusing on the next match,” he said.