Mohammed Siraj not playing: India have taken the field with only two fast bowlers and three spin-bowling options at Chepauk.
During the first day of the first Test of the ongoing England’s tour of India in Chennai, India made as many as five changes to their Playing XI which won the historic Test match in Brisbane last month.
While captain Virat Kohli replaced batsman Mayank Agarwal in the XI, the hosts have included a whole different four-man bowling attack comprising of Ravichandran Ashwin, Shahbaz Nadeem, Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah in place of Shardul Thakur, Navdeep Saini, Mohammed Siraj and T. Natarajan.
Nadeem, who wasn’t part of the 18-member squad selected for the first two Tests, has earned a surprise comeback after making his debut against South Africa in 2019. It is worth mentioning that the 31-year old player has been called-up as a replacement for injured all-rounder Axar Patel.
Patel, who was highly likely to make his Test debut at the MA Chidambaram Stadium today, was ruled out of the match after complaining of pain in his left knee during Team India’s optional training session on Thursday. In addition to Nadeem, the selectors have also added Rajasthan spinner Rahul Chahar as a standby.
Rahul Chahar has been added to the 🇮🇳 Test squad vs England alongside Shahbaz Nadeem to replace injured Axar Patel.
— Mumbai Indians (@mipaltan) February 5, 2021
Why is Mohammed Siraj not playing Chennai Test?
Having picked 13 wickets in three Tests at an average and strike rate of 29.53 and 62 respectively, Siraj was the highest wicket-taker for India in the recently concluded Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
From making his Test debut to playing as a leader of the bowling attack in the same series, the 26-year old player had underwent a significant transformation under unforeseen circumstances down under.
That being said, Siraj was left out for this match after the return of senior names in Sharma and Bumrah. It is doubtlessly unfair on Siraj to not be playing this match but the same was all but expected especially in the case of India playing only two fast bowlers.