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India vs Australia, 3rd Test: Umesh Yadav flies back home, Natarajan added to visitors' squad

India vs Australia, 3rd Test: Umesh Yadav flies back home, Natarajan added to visitors’ squad
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India vs Australia, 3rd Test: Umesh Yadav flies back home, Natarajan added to visitors’ squad

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T. Natarajan reportedly was added to the Indian squad for third and fourth Tests against Australia after Umesh Yadav was ruled out of the series on Thursday.

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T. Natarajan reportedly was added to the Indian squad for third and fourth Tests against Australia after Umesh Yadav was ruled out of the series on Thursday.

Umesh, who suffered a calf injury during the recently concluded Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, has flown back to India and will soon begin an extensive rehabilitation at Bengaluru's National Cricket Academy (NCA).

However, the Indian team management is expected to rope in Shardul Thakur ahead of young Natarajan for the New Year's Test, starting on Jan. 7 at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).

"His [Umesh] scans came in and he will miss the third and fourth game. So, there was no point in holding him back and it is better that he returns to the country and undergoes rehab at the National Cricket Academy (NCA). He left on Wednesday night," a BCCI told ANI.

On being asked if Natarajan would be picked ahead of Shardul ahead of the Sydney Test, a BCCI source told PTI," While people are excited about the brilliant progress shown by T Natarajan, we mustn't forget he has played only one First-Class match for Tamil Nadu. And Shardul has been a seasoned domestic red ball pacer for Mumbai. Shardul was really unfortunate that his Test debut against West Indies ended abruptly due to injury even before he could bowl an over. He has been shaping up well and might replace Umesh in the playing XI."

Shardul has played 62 First-Class matches since his debut in 2012 for Mumbai and has 206 wickets under his belt.

"Obviously the next few training sessions will be important and that's why the final call is likely to be taken in Sydney," the source added. The final decision will be taken by India's head coach Ravi Shastri, stand-in-skipper Ajinkya Rahane, and bowling coach Bharat Arun after reaching Sydney.

In the first Test at the Adelaide Oval, Umesh picked three wickets. He went wicketless in the first innings of the second Test before dismissing struggling Australian opener Joe Burns in the second innings. After bowling only 13 deliveries, Umesh limped off the field. The 33-year-old fast bowler was taken to the hospital for scans before his tour was cut short with a confirmed calf injury.

Umesh's situation came as a second blow to the Indian team after another senior pacer Mohammed Shami had earlier returned to India after suffering a wrist fracture in the first Test at the Adelaide Oval. The touring party is also without Ishant Sharma and captain Virat Kohli, who went back home on paternity leave after India's loss in the day-night Test.

Despite not having some key players and losing Umesh in the middle of the Test, the Indian team managed to win the Boxing Day Test comprehensively. Even though Rahane led from the front, the stand-in-skipper refused to take credit for his match-winning effort.

"Really proud of all the players. Played really well. Want to give credit to the debutants (Mohammed) Siraj and (Shubman) Gill, the character they showed after the Adelaide loss was great to see," he said in the post-match presentation.

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