On the eve of the second Test against England, India had a selection dilemma as Shardul Thakur was ruled out due to a hamstring injury. Thakur suffered a left hamstring injury, which captain Virat Kohli confirmed during his press conference on Wednesday. Thakur is expected to be fit for the third Test.

Although the first Test between India and England finished in a draw due to rain on the final day, it is safe to assume that the visitors have the upper hand heading into the second match of the series at Lord’s Cricket Ground.

On Monday, Thakur came to Lord’s for training and spent time in the gym with India’s physiotherapist Nitin Patel and trainer Nick Webb. Thakur took four wickets in the first Test in Nottingham, two in each innings, as India’s fourth seamer. Thakur’s fitness was questioned after he only bowled 13 overs in England’s second innings, the fewest among India’s quicks, although showing no signs of discomfort on the outside.

“For us, it’s about finding that perfect balance but if someone like Shardul is not available, then we definitely need to think how to pick up 20 wickets and not try to plug in another guy, who can give us some runs with the bat,” Kohli stated.

The problem with using someone other than Thakur as a fourth seamer is that it will leave India with a lengthy tail, with no credible lower-order contributor among Ishant, Umesh, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, or Mohammed Siraj. Thakur’s selection at Trent Bridge was contingent on his batting at No. 8, in addition to his swing bowling.

India must choose between R Ashwin, a second spinning allrounder, and Ishant Sharma or Umesh Yadav, a fourth seamer, given the possibility of reverse-swing in addition to the seam movement and conventional swing that are generally available in English conditions.