Navdeep Saini debut: India have made a couple of changes to their Playing XI for the third Test against Australia.
India vice-captain Rohit Sharma will return to international cricket after 11 months tomorrow. While Sharma last played for India in a T20I during the tour of New Zealand last year, his last Test appearance dates back to November 2019 when India hosted Bangladesh for their inaugural day-night Test in Kolkata.
While Sharma’s return for the third Test against India was pretty much expected, his batting position had enticed some confusion. While a set of cricketing fraternity was expecting Sharma to bat in the middle-order, captain Ajinkya Rahane confirmed on the eve of the match that his Mumbai-teammate will open the batting alongside Shubman Gill.
The development has brought an end to Mayank Agarwal’s run of 13-match spree since his debut. 1,005 runs at an average of 47.85 with the help of three centuries and four half-centuries would have mostly saved a batsman from getting dropped. However, Agarwal scoring 31 runs at 7.75 in the last two Tests weren’t speaking highly of his current form.
Navdeep Saini debut
With fast bowler Umesh Yadav getting ruled out of the Test series, uncapped Navdeep Saini will make his debut at the Sydney Cricket Ground tomorrow to join a fast bowling group comprising of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj.
Saini, 28, has already played 17 white-ball matches at the highest level. Despite a couple of expensive ODI outings earlier on the tour, the right-arm bowler is likely to trouble the batsmen with his express pace especially under a cloudy weather forecast.
Big moment for @navdeepsaini96 – from tennis ball cricket in Karnal to playing Test crickrt! Well done Navdeep and well done @GautamGambhir for seeing the talent in him and then fighting with selectors to make him play for Delhi #IndvsAus
— Vikrant Gupta (@vikrantgupta73) January 6, 2021
In 46 first-class matches till date, Saini has picked 128 wickets at an average and strike rate of 28.46 and 59.9 respectively. Saini, who will become India’s 299th Test player, will have a lot to do in the absence of senior pacers such as Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Yadav.
India Playing XI for Sydney Test vs Australia – 1) Rohit Sharma (vc) 2) Shubman Gill 3) Cheteshwar Pujara 4) Ajinkya Rahane (c) 5) Hanuma Vihari 6) Rishabh Pant (wk) 7) Ravindra Jadeja 8) Ravichandran Ashwin 9) Navdeep Saini 10) Jasprit Bumrah 11) Mohammed Siraj