Shahbaz Nadeem, the left-arm orthodox spinner who was included in the India side after Kuldeep Yadav complained of a shoulder injury, will make his debut in the third and final Test against South Africa in Ranchi. Nadeem has been a prolific performer for Jharkhand and India A over a period of time. He has had back-to-back 50-plus wicket seasons for Jharkhand. Nadeem is only the second man in Ranji Trophy history to top 50 wickets in a season twice, having taken 51 in 2015-16. He emulated Kanwaljit Singh, the former Hyderabad offspinner, who had also accomplished the feat in consecutive years, getting 51 wickets in 1998-99 and 62 wickets in 1999-00.
The 30-year-old orthodox left-arm spinner has taken 424 wickets in 110 first-class matches with 19 five-wicket and five 10-wicket hauls. "The decision to add Nadeem was made after Kuldeep Yadav complained of left shoulder pain on Friday," chairman of selectors MSK Prasad was quoted as saying in a BCCI press release. In 2018, Nadeem was called up in the Indian ODI team for the T20 series against the West Indies at home but did not play a game.
It would have been a dead rubber but with valuable World Test Championship points on offer, India would be eyeing victory while South Africa would be desperate for some consolation in a wretched tour when the third and final Test starts here on Saturday. There are 40 points on offer and a 3-0 series whitewash, both of which India would be targetting against the hapless visitors. Dominating the Proteas in all the departments, India won the first Test in Visakhapatnam by 203 runs before inflicting an innings and 137-run defeat on the hapless visitors in Pune to regain the Freedom Trophy.
India, who have 200 points from four games, have a massive 140-point lead over nearest rivals New Zealand and Sri Lanka in the World Test Championships standings. Skipper Virat Kohli has also made it clear that there is plenty to play for in the final Test and the team cannot afford a drop in intensity.
In Vizag and Pune, India won important tosses and it allowed the batsmen to score big centuries and give their bowlers time to take 20 wickets. The likes of Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane have all chipped in at vital times. Agarwal, with a double and a century as well as Kohli, fresh from a record 254* in Pune, have demoralised the Proteas bowlers.
Even with the ball, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja as well as the Indian pacers have been far more potent than the South Africans, who have not dismissed the entire Indian team even once in the series. Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma have complimented Jadeja and Ashwin. With such a settled combination, India are favorites heading into the Ranchi Test.