T Natarajan
T Natarajan
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Melbourne

He has many names to tag with, from the net bowler to drinks man and tourist guide, finally he get to be called for the Test match which has been eluding him for some time since he landed in Australia.

For the Tamil Nadu's Thangarasu Natarajan the year 2021 begins with a bang as he comes into the Indian Test team as a frontliner bowler. The yorker specialists comes in the place of injured Unesh Yadav for the remaining two Test matches to be played in Sydney and Bisbane 7 and 15 of January 2021 respectively, a blessing in disguise in a manner.

Shardul Thakur also begins the year on a high note as he comes in for injured Mohammed Shami.

"Umesh Yadav sustained a strain in his left calf muscle on Day 3 of the second Border-Gavaskar Test in Melbourne...The fast bowler will not recover completely ahead of the remaining two Test matches and has been ruled out of the series," BCCI Secretary Jay Shah stated in a media release.

"The All-India Senior Selection Committee has named T Natarajan as Yadav's replacement. Ahead of the Boxing Day Test, Shardul Thakur was added to the Test squad as Mohd. Shami's replacement after the senior fast bowler suffered a hairline fracture in his right forearm," the release added.

The 29-year-old Natarajan had started off as a net bowler during the series and then subsequently made it to the T20 and ODI squads. He snared eight wickets (two ODI and six T20) during his four limited-overs appearances in national colours.

He has played 20 first-class games for Tamil Nadu and will now be in contention for a slot in traditional format.

Earlier, fit-again top batsman Rohit Sharma completed his quarantine and joined the team in Melbourne.

The series is locked 1-1 right now with the third Test starting in Sydney from January 7.

Sydney Test

under threat

The third Test match between India and Australia, starting on January 7 at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), has come under threat after 10 cases of Covid-19 emerged on December 31 in Sydney's vicinity, taking the total number of positive cases to 170 over the last two weeks, reports IANS. According to a report in Channel 9, there have been calls to play the third Test at the SCG without spectators inside the stadium. "The Blue Mountain and Illawarra, a broad area is being affected by these outbreaks," said a report on Nine News Sydney. The areas of Berala and Smithfield, which are just 30-odd kilometres from the SCG have been put on alert. "There have been calls to make (wearing) masks mandatory and, of course, not to have crowds which is due to kick off from seventh of January. Whether that happens, remains to be seen. We are expecting to hear from the New South Wales premier later in the day. But the numbers are really significant, we had 10 cases diagnosed for the lat day of 2020," the report added.

Test squad

Ajinkya Rahane (C), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper), Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Jasprit Bumrah, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Md. Siraj, Shardul Thakur, T Natarajan.

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