India vs England, 1st Test Playing XI: Three reasons Virat Kohli & Co should play Shardul Thakur ahead of R Jadeja

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India vs England, 1st Test Playing XI: Three reasons Virat Kohli & Co should play Shardul Thakur ahead of R Jadeja The opening Test between India vs England is all set to take place at Trent Bridge, Nottingham on Wednesday. But hours before the match, Virat Kohli has a selection headache in terms of bowling combination against Joe Root’s England. The dilemma is between in-form Ravindra Jadeja or Shardul Thakur, who has proven to be useful with the bat too.

With a fair bit of grass on the pitch, a 4th seamer is the way to go but Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri will have to wait and watch on how curators shape up the wicket. If there is still grass, Shardul Thakur is likely to get another go in overseas conditions after shining in his Test series debut in Australia earlier this year. The overcast conditions will also aid in his selection.

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But if the grass is cut short and the pitch is rolled on to an extent where spinners could play a role in the later stages of the match keeping competitiveness in mind, Ravindra Jadeja will come in as the spin-allrounder. But InsideSport takes a look at why Shardul Thakur will still be a preferred option for Virat Kohli.

India vs England, 1st Test: Three reasons Virat Kohli & Co should play Shardul Thakur ahead of R Jadeja in playing XI

Pace-friendly track

Shardul Thakur will offer India another seam option at Trent Bridge. The track offers more assistance to the batsmen as compared to the bowlers. He had taken 7 wickets in first 2 Tests against Australia. Only spin legend Shane Warne features in the top 5 highest wicket-takers in the list. Thus, India might play only ace spinner R Ashwin on Nottingham’s green turf.

Top 5 wicket-takers at Trent Bridge

Most wickets
Player Span Mat Inns Balls Runs Wkts BBI BBM Ave Econ SR 5 10
JM Anderson (ENG) 2003-2018 10 20 2724 1256 64 7/43 11/71 19.62 2.76 42.5 7 2
AV Bedser (ENG) 1947-1954 6 12 2289 829 41 7/44 14/99 20.21 2.17 55.8 4 1
SCJ Broad (ENG) 2008-2018 9 18 1957 888 40 8/15 9/51 22.20 2.72 48.9 2 0
FS Trueman (ENG) 1957-1964 5 10 1299 528 32 5/27 9/104 16.50 2.43 40.5 2 0
SK Warne (AUS) 1993-2005 4 8 1290 514 29 6/33 8/70 17.72 2.39 44.4 1 0

 

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All-round option

The right-handed batsman had impressed with his timely fifty during the India tour of Australia. His cover drive will be mouthwatering to watch in the upcoming contest. He slammed his maiden fifty at The Gabba, Brisbane as India breached Gabba to defeat Australia at the venue after a long gap of 32 years. Relive some of the extraordinary shots.

Fill up for Hardik Pandya’s absence

The presence of a pace bowling allrounder will give India an edge over England. Last time, Hardik Pandya took a five-wicket haul and contributed with the bat with a fifty when India won at Trent Bridge, Nottingham. Shardul Thakur can fill the void by adding extra runs to change the context of the game. He can grab the opportunity and seal the place in absence of Pandya.

Notably, Shardul has scored 7 half-centuries in a first-class career.

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Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli on Shardul Thakur:

“He already is a multi-dimensional cricketer and it is all about him giving more and more confidence. Someone like him brings balance to the side, Hardik Pandya has done for us in the past, right now he is getting on track to bowling regularly. These kinds of cricketers help the team in a massive way. Shardul is a huge prospect for us, he will be important to us not just in this series, but going ahead as well,” Kohli said on Tuesday.

“Everyone is different. Hardik what he did in 2018 was different for us. Shardul can bat. You have seen Shardul bat in Australia and he did well in domestic cricket as well,” Ajinkya Rahane had told at PC on Monday.

India vs England, 1st Test: Three reasons Virat Kohli & Co should play Shardul Thakur ahead of R Jadeja in playing XI

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