The Indian Test squad
The Indian Test squad
File Pic

It all started with Mohammed Shami's unavailability for the Adelaide Test, followed by Umesh Yadav's absence in Melbourne. Now, it is Jasprit Bumrah who will miss the upcoming fourth and final Test against Australia in Brisbane.

Joining Bumrah in the list of Indian woes will be Ravindra Jadeja and Hanuma Vihari, adding the possible exclusion of Ravichandran Ashwin and wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant, all of whom played a very important role in the previous Tests which helped India tie the series 1-1 with the hosts.

The list of injuries, especially Bumrah's absence, makes one wonder how on earth India will lead its pace attack with an inexperienced set of players - Mohammed Siraj and Navdeep Saini - on a pitch for fast bowlers. Not to mention that the two pacers have a combined experience of three Test matches.

While expectations from Siraj and Saini will be high, fans could also see T Natarajan making his Test debut for India. If not, it will be Shardul Thakur who could feature in the starting XI.

Coming to the spinners, it is likely that India could opt for a single spinner for the Gabba Test. With Jadeja out of play, India's only ray of hope is Ashwin who played a crucial knock despite having back pain during the 3rd Test. However, if Ashwin is deemed unfit, it will be Kuldeep Yadav who could take the reins in the final Test as a spinner.

Interestingly, Yadav's inclusion could also be backed by the demand from the fans who have taken to social media to reminisce about the spinner's five-wicket haul against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) in 2019.

In the middle-order department, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane are set to bat at no.3 and 4, respectively. But, it is the following spots that are creating all the ruckus for India. With Vihari and Jadeja out, India could deploy Wriddiman Saha in the middle who can also don the gloves in place of Pant, if his elbow issue persists.

The likes of top-order batsmen Mayank Agarwal and Prithvi Shaw, who failed terribly in the previous Tests, could also feature in the middle-order.

India's top-order, however, remains untouched as openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill's performance have been highly commendable. On Friday, Rohit and Gill gave India its first 50-plus opening stand in 14 innings.

The visitors had struggled in recent times to find a solid opening pair, but the return of Rohit combined with youngster Gill's composed batting made it possible.

The Gabba Test is set to begin on January 15. That means the likes of Ashwin and Pant have three days to be deemed fit for the fourth and final Test against Australia in Brisbane.

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Free Press Journal