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T Natarajan replaces Umesh Yadav; Rohit Sharma named vice-captain for last two Tests
India News

T Natarajan replaces Umesh Yadav; Rohit Sharma named vice-captain for last two Tests

Uncapped left-arm seamer T Natarajan has been named as the replacement for injured paceman Umesh Yadav while the fit-again Rohit Sharma will take over as the vice-captain for India's final two Tests of the four-match series against Australia.

Yadav endured a calf muscle tear during Australia's second innings in the second Test and bowled just 3.3 overs before limping off the field.

India's remaining bowlers were able to skittle the hosts for a paltry total in Yadav's absence as the tourists clinched a commanding eight-wicket win at the MCG to square the series 1-1.

Yadav's injury is the latest setback to India's pace bowling department, which is already missing the services of the unfit Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma.

Shami was ruled out of the series after fracturing his forearm during India's batting capitulation in the second innings of the first Test while Ishant was rendered available for the entire tour for a side strain he aggravated in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

India is additionally missing batting mainstay, Virat Kohli, in their ranks due to paternity leave – a situation that has led to Ajinkya Rahane being appointed the team's stand-in skipper.

Yadav "will not recover completely ahead of the remaining two Test matches and has been ruled out of the series", according to a statement released by the BCCI.

"Both Shami and Umesh Yadav will head to the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru for further rehabilitation of their injuries," the release further added.

29-year-old Natarajan was originally included in India's touring contingent as a net bowler but was fast-tracked for a limited-overs international debut after an impressive showing in the IPL.

Natarajan made a solitary ODI appearance in the three-match series and later finished the T20I series as India's leading wicket-taker with six scalps in three games.

Earlier, Shardul Thakur was roped in as a replacement for Shami in India's Test line-up. One of either Thakur or Natarajan is bound to play in the third Test in Sydney starting January 7.

Meanwhile, opening batsman Rohit has joined the Indian side after completing his quarantine in Australia. Rohit was not part of India's white-ball outfit since he was still undergoing rehabilitation from injury.

Rohit is set to feature in India's playing XI after being handed the vice-captaincy duties from Cheteshwar Pujara. His inclusion might come at the expense of Mayank Agarwal at the top of the order or Hanuma Vihari in the middle-order.

India Test squad

Ajinkya Rahane (capt), Rohit Sharma (vice-capt), Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Rishabh Pant (wk), Jasprit Bumrah, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, T Natarajan