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Navdeep Saini replaces Mohammed Shami for Afghanistan Test

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Failure to pass a fitness test has forced Indian fast bowler Mohammed Shami out of the one-off Test match against Afghanistan, starting in Bangalore on Thursday.

Shami, the 27-year-old fast bowler, has been down with a number of injuries in the past couple of years, which have meant that his appearances have been sporadic. Most recently, he had to drop out of the Hurricane Relief T20 Challenge match between ICC World XI and the Windies after coming in for Hardik Pandya.

Prior to the Test against Afghanistan, the visiting side’s maiden outing in the format, Shami had to undergo a fitness test like everyone else, and was dropped after failing it. Navdeep Saini, the uncapped 25-year-old paceman who has 96 wickets from 31 first-class appearances, has been brought in.

Saini picked up 34 wickets in eight games in the 2017/18 Ranji Trophy, India’s premier first-class competition, and was also called up to bowl in the nets during India’s tour of South Africa earlier this year.

The Indian team already wears a depleted look, with Virat Kohli having first opted for a stint with Surrey to prepare for the tour of England later in the summer before dropping out with a neck injury.

Him aside, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah, the pacemen, and Rohit Sharma, the middle-order batsman, had all been rested for the match. Wriddhiman Saha, India’s specialist wicket-keeper in Tests, will also miss the Test because of a hand injury, and has been replaced by Dinesh Karthik.

Ajinkya Rahane will lead the side in the historic game, with Saini combining with Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Shardul Thakur and Pandya, the all-rounder, to form the pace attack.

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