On Friday, the Indian team suffered a fresh jolt after it was reported that Ishant Sharma's ankle injury has resurfaced and that he will probably miss the second Test against New Zealand because of the injury. This news will have an even bigger impact on the team because the lanky pacer is the most in-form bowler in India's Test side at the moment.
Ishant was the only bright star in an otherwise damp performance by the Indians in the first Test against the Kiwis. His crucial five wickets proved to be the only thing that kept the Indians from total annihilation. Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami's impact was almost negligible as they managed to take just two wickets between them.
With Ishant's injury, two candidates come to the foray as his replacement. Umesh Yadav and Navdeep Saini. The Indian management will face quite a headache in choosing between the two. Should they go for the veteran Umesh Yadav, who has been a dependable backup for the team in recent years? Or do they go with the up and coming Navdeep Saini, who has proved to wonderful in recent limited-overs matches?
The last Test match that Yadav played was against Bangladesh in the historic day-night Test at Eden Gardens. He had a fantastic outing against them as he managed to scalp 8 wickets in two innings. Yadav has always been a dependable bowler for India in Tests, conceding few runs and taking wickets at regular intervals.
On the other hand, Navdeep Saini, who is yet to make his debut in the longest format for India, has looked prolific in limited-overs cricket this year. In this year's Sri Lanka series, Navdeep grabbed everyone’s attention by putting a man-of-the-series performance against them. His ability to bowl consistently above 140 kph made him quite lethal. He also performed admirably against Australia. It might be time for him to make his presence felt in red-ball cricket.
It will be left to see who does the management prefer, Umesh Yadav or Navdeep Saini?
The upcoming second Test between India and New Zealand will start from February 29 at Hagley Oval, Christchurch. With the Kiwis having the upper hand in the two-match series, India will look forward to bouncing back in the game and level the series.