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Ashish Nehra picks Navdeep Saini as India’s third pacer for the SCG Test

Former India speedster Ashish Nehra reckons that Navdeep Saini will be an ideal choice in India’s playing XI for the third Test in Sydney over Shardul Thakur and T Natarajan, who came in as replacements post-Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav’s injury that ruled them out of the ongoing 4-match Test series.

Saini, who has made 46 First-Class appearances, has grabbed 128 wickets at an average of 28.46, with 4 four-fors and 4 five-fors to his name. Not to mention, the right-arm pacer picked three wickets during the second practice Test match against Australia A prior to the commencement of the concurrent Border-Gavaskar series.

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“If you look at squad composition, Saini was the first choice and Shardul and Natarajan both came in as replacements for Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav. So if Saini was ahead of them during the initial Test squad selection, I don’t see any reason why he would slip down in the pecking order. You selected him first, so obviously you believed he was better than the other two, isn’t it,” Nehra was quoted saying by NDTV.

T Natarajan has not been tested like Mohammed Siraj: Ashish Nehra

T Natarajan rendered remarkable exhibitions in the concluded limited-overs matches against Australia, grabbing two wickets in the third ODI, and emerging as the highest wicket-taker in the 3-match T20Is that India won by 2-1, scalping 6 wickets at an average of 13.83.

However, Nehra added how the pace and bouncy wicket at SCG could help Saini in affecting the dismissals. Moreover, the 28-year-old Delhi pacer’s experience of multiple red ball tours for India A could come in extremely handy at this juncture.

“Navdeep’s biggest assets are bounce and extra pace. This is a Test match. How does Natarajan normally get his wickets? When people are trying to hit him. Also, you have not tested Natarajan by playing him for India A like you did with Mohammed Siraj, who has risen through the ranks,” said the cricketer-turned-commentator.

“Similarly, Navdeep has also come up the ranks having been on multiple red-ball tours of India A. In Test matches, batsmen normally don’t get out. You have to get them out. That is the difference,” said Nehra while concluding.

Navdeep Saini will be highly potent in Sydney with his reverse swing: Coach Sanjeev Sharma

Along with many cricket experts, Saini’s former Delhi bowling coach at the time of his First-Class debut, Sanjeev Sharma, strongly believes that Navdeep Saini would relish bowling at SCG and could possibly wreak havoc with his reverse swing..

“I don’t necessarily subscribe to the notion that Saini’s bowling style is only suited to the Gabba, the venue for the fourth Test of this series. There is no doubt that he will relish bowling at that ground, but I also believe that he will be equally potent in Sydney.

Even though it is a pitch that tends to get abrasive and assist spinners, the resultant footmarks will provide Navdeep with the opportunity to get reverse swing. Trust me, he is devastating when the ball begins to reverse,” Sanjay Sharma told The Indian Express.

Also Read: Rahul Dravid was equally hard to overcome as Sachin Tendulkar: Steve Waugh

The ongoing Border-Gavaskar series is currently tied at 1-1, with the tourists, led by stand-in captain, Ajinkya Rahane leading upfront with a scintillating ton in the second Test at MCG and being rightly adjudged as the ‘Man of the Match’ for his heroics.

The third Test between India and Australia will commence on January 7 at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

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V Shashankhttps://www.mpl.live/
A cricket aficionado who has been following the game since the historic Ashes 2013-14. "People throw stones at you, you turn them into milestones." - Sachin Tendulkar

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