Suryakumar Yadav included in Test squad for NZ series, Shardul Thakur for A tour to SA

In Bloemfontein, Shardul Thakur will play in only his third India A vs. South Africa A match. The Sports Digest, new head coach Rahul Dravid wants every player to be match ready with some experience before playing in an international game.

Shardul Thakur, an India bowler, has been invited to join the India A squad in South Africa. While Suryakumar Yadav, an Indian batsman has been requested to stay with the Indian Test side, which will play two Tests against New Zealand at home.

Thakur was left out of the T20 and Test squads against New Zealand because the national selection committee opted to give the Mumbai bowler a rest after he spent six months away from home playing cricket.

In Bloemfontein, Thakur will play in only his third India A vs. South Africa A match. The Sports Digest believes that new head coach Rahul Dravid wants every player to be match ready and have played a few games before taking part in an international match. Thakur would have had no games under his belt if he had been selected for the South Africa series next month if it hadn’t been for the A match.

The Indian squad sent Hanuma Vihari with the India A side for the similar reason. As the selection committee felt he might not have gotten any tests against the Kiwis. They reasoned that he should play a few games in the India A series. Thakur was an integral part of Australia’s and England’s Test teams. When he smashed two half-centuries in the fourth Test against England, it was his batting that stole the show.

Bharat Arun, a former bowling coach, gushed about Thakur’s value. “Shardul Thakur is doing fantastically well. Imagine the pressure he was under and how effectively he handled it. I see amazing development in both bowling and batting with each match. Knocks in Brisbane and Leeds were incredible, weren’t they? And he’s a smart bowler, with a superb out swinger and a well-directed bouncer at close to 140 kmph. He is a good thinker who is not afraid to express his thoughts and is brave, and you need players like him in a team setting,” Arun told this newspaper.

After the first Test against New Zealand, which begins on Thursday in Kanpur, the BCCI is expected to choose the squad for the South Africa tour. Meanwhile, there has been no formal explanation as to why Yadav has been asked to remain with the Indian Test squad.

Shreyas Iyer, a middle-order batsman already in the team, has a good chance of earning his Test debut. The selection committee and BCCI appear to be unwilling to risk the players’ health, particularly during COVID-19. The BCCI does not want to be in a position where a player becomes ill and there is no one available to replace him. Yadav and Prithvi Shaw were also assigned as back-up players for the England tour, but neither got a game.

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