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India vs West Indies: Jaydev Unadkat, Mukesh Kumar, Navdeep Saini in three-way fight for fifth bowler’s slot | Cricket News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: As the Indian team prepares for the upcoming two-Test series, the team management finds themselves in a predicament over the selection of the third pacer. Jaydev Unadkat, Mukesh Kumar, and Navdeep Saini are locked in a three-way fight for the coveted spot in the bowling lineup.
The Windsor Park in Roseau, the Dominican capital, is not as renowned as other West Indian grounds like Sabina Park or Kensington Oval.Hosting only five Tests, four ODIs, and an equal number of T20Is, it lacks recent data on the behaviour of the pitch.
Recent history doesn’t favour the West Indies either, as they have won only one out of the five Tests played at this ground, against Zimbabwe. The last Test at this venue in 2017 saw Pakistan emerge victorious by 101 runs within three days.Reflecting on the previous Test, Pakistan’s pacers Mohammed Amir, Hasan Ali, and Mohammed Abbas claimed 11 wickets, while leg-spinner Yasir Shah accounted for the remaining nine scalps across two innings.
Considering the conditions and past performances, India is likely to field both specialist spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. Additionally, Shardul Thakur, known for his batting prowess and impressive showing in the WTC final in England, will accompany pace spearhead Mohammed Siraj.
Axar Patel, an all-rounder akin to Ravindra Jadeja, is an option for the fifth bowling slot. However, on most Caribbean tracks, it is advisable to have a third pacer in the lineup.

The decision for the fifth bowler, potentially a third pacer, won’t be an easy one as all three contenders possess unique attributes.
Navdeep Saini, who is gradually regaining his rhythm, brings pace and endurance to the team, capable of bowling long spells without compromising on speed. His pace could be advantageous on slower tracks with the old Dukes ball.
Then there is Jaydev Unadkat, a Ranji Trophy legend, who recently made a comeback to Test cricket against Bangladesh after a 12-year gap since his debut in 2010. Unadkat’s left-arm angle adds variation, allowing him to move the ball across right-handers while also maintaining a straight line when needed.


Finally, Mukesh Kumar, the 29-year-old seamer from Bengal, has shown remarkable improvement in the past three domestic seasons. He possesses the ability to swing the new ball both ways and extract movement off the surface.
While Mukesh’s pace hovers around the early 130 kmph mark, his effectiveness with the old ball in later spells remains to be seen when his pace may slightly decrease.
The choice for the third pacer’s slot will ultimately rest with captain Rohit Sharma, who will consider the players’ current form in the nets and the prevailing conditions on the eve of the Test match.
(With inputs from PTI)

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