26-year-old Indian seamer, Shardul Thakur, who was included in India’s squad for the ODI series against South Africa in South Africa has been called up prematurely.
The Indian team has lost both of the first two Tests of the 3-game series, with Shardul Thakur being called up after their loss in the 2nd Test at the Centurion.
The Indian management has asked for the Maharashtra-based speedster, with Thakur expected to leave for Johannesburg on Friday night.
Thakur was also a part of Mumbai’s T20 team for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy tournament, but has now withdrawn his name from the squad to travel to South Africa.
Even though the real reason behind Thakur’s early departure to South Africa is still unknown, he remains the only pacer in the ODI squad that is not currently in the Rainbow Nation. It was initially expected that the 26-year-old would leave on January 24th, with other ODI specialists including MS Dhoni and Manish Pandey.
Thakur will be partnered on his flight with Delhi seamer, Navdeep Saini, who is travelling to South Africa as a net bowler.
The pair will join the long list of Indian pacers including Ankit Rajpoot, Mohammad Siraj, Avesh Khan and Basil Thampi, who have travelled with the Test squad to assist them in the nets.
Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) joint secretary Unmesh Khanvilkar confirmed Thakur’s premature call to South Africa by the Indian management.
Khanvilkar spoke to The Indian Express, “We were informed by the BCCI that he (Thakur) will be going to South Africa soon which has meant that we’ve had to find a replacement for him at the last moment.”
BCCI’s move to call Thakur and Saini comes after the team management requested for decent fast bowlers to assist them in the nets on away tours.
Nevertheless, it is still to be seen whether the Mumbai pacer has been included as a net bowler as well before the last Test at the Wanderers, or perhaps there is an injury scare in the Indian fast-bowling department.
Chief selector MSK Prasad had already previously hinted on the early departure of some Indian ODI players, while announcing the ODI squad previous month, with the players going a bit early to adapt to the conditions.