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India vs England Test: Pacer Akash Deep could make debut

While Mukesh has played three Tests for India and has seven wickets to his name, the way in which Deep troubled the batters, including skipper Rohit Sharma, with pace and bounce on the black-soil pitch during ‘nets’ was a sign that the 30-year-old could well make his debut.
Last Updated 21 February 2024, 20:18 IST

Ranchi: The Indian team may have called back Mukesh Kumar after being released only a game ago, but the management will likely give paceman Akash Deep a go for the fourth Test against England in Ranchi from Friday. 

Having rested Jasprit Bumrah on grounds of workload management, the Indian team will look to replace the premier pacer with another to complement Mohammed Siraj.

They could have considered playing four spinners had the pitch looked more spin-friendly and the conditions less gloomy, but now, it looks like India will stick to the two-pacers-three-spinners strategy. 

While Mukesh has played three Tests for India and has seven wickets to his name, the way in which Deep troubled the batters, including skipper Rohit Sharma, with pace and bounce on the black-soil pitch during ‘nets’ was a sign that the 30-year-old could well make his debut. 

As for the spinners, Kuldeep Yadav got a long stint with the bat before coming on with the ball, while R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja went through the motions. 

Only, Jadeja seemed to have some discomfort in his left shoulder at the beginning of the session and was tended to by the team physio before he went onto bowl. 

Yashasvi Jaiswal, Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill and Rajat Patidar were the early batters at the ‘nets’, and each of them, save for Jaiswal, had twin sessions - started with the throwdowns before graduating to play the Indian pacers and the spinners. 

Patidar, it must be said, looked woefully out of form even in the ‘nets’ with plenty of jerky movements. Batting coach Vikram Rathour had plenty of advice to give the 30-year-old batter who got out in identically comical ways in both innings of the Rajkot Test last week. 

Even then he wasn’t too sure about his feet, more so against the spinners.

It’ll be interesting to see if India consider giving Karnataka southpaw Devdutt Padikkal a debut in his place, or maybe even bringing in Washington Sundar to add more weight to the bowling line-up while providing a left-handed option with the bat. 

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(Published 21 February 2024, 20:18 IST)

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