Tough to Strike Balance For Virat Kohli if Shardul Thakur is Unfit: Mohammad Kaif

India are sweating over the fitness of Shardul Thakur who reportedly has a niggle ahead of the 2nd Test against England at Lord’s. In the absence of a genuine fast-bowling allrounder in the squad, India are reliant on Shardul to add depth to their batting line-up for the tour.

Although he may have registered a duck in the first Test, Shardul has proven in the past he has the potential to become a genuine allrounder. His role becomes even more crucial when Hardik Pandya, the first-choice fast bowling allrounder across formats, has not been bowling regularly of late which was the primary reason he didn’t make the cut for the UK tour.

Former India international Mohammad Kaif says while India captain Virat Kohli was spot on with his team selection for the first Test in Nottingham, he may find himself in trouble should Shardul be ruled out of the 2nd Test as it will become difficult to strike the right balance in the playing XI.

“Virat Kohli will be in trouble if Shardul is injured,” Kaif told News18 during an interaction set up by Sony Sports Network.  “India don’t have a fast bowling allrounder on the tour and they don’t have any (like-to-like) options.”

If Shardul does miss the second Test, Kaif says India may opt for either Ravichandran Ashwin or another fast bowler.

“Ashwin may come in or an extra fast bowler. If Ishant Sharma is fit, he automatically makes the cut. Otherwise they have Umesh Yadav and others in the squad. But it’s tough to have balance if Shardul doesn’t play,” Kaif observed.

The first Test ended in a draw with the fifth day washed out due to rain.

The second Test of the five-match series between India and England will be played at the Lord’s Cricket Ground from Thursday onwards. The match will be telecast on Sony Sports Network and streamed live via their SonyLIV App in India.

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