Ahead of the third Test against Australia, former India pacer Ashish Nehra has said that Navdeep Saini should be the “first choice” for the third fast bowler’s slot. With Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav out of the series due to respective injuries, the Indian team-management will have to pick a new face for the third pacer to accompany Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj.
Along with Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur and T Natarajan are also in contention. And while only time will tell who is picked as the third pacer, Ashish Nehra has backed Navdeep Saini for the slot. The former cricketer believes that the Delhi pacer should be preferred because of his extra pace and ability to extract disconcerting bounce.
Ashish Nehra started by saying that Saini should be preferred ahead of Shardul and Natarajan because he was higher in the pecking order. Both Shardul and Natarajan were initially not a part of the squad but were added to the Test team after injuries to Shami and Umesh respectively.
“If you look at squad composition, Saini was first choice and Shardul and Natarajan both came in as replacements for Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav,” Ashish Nehra told PTI on Tuesday.
“So if Saini was ahead of them during 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 other two. Isn’t it,” Nehra added.
The former pacer further spoke on why Navdeep Saini would be better suited for Sydney. He pointed out Saini’s ability to bowl fast and extract good bounce. He also explained why Natarajan should not be picked in Tests at the moment.
“Navdeep’s biggest asset are bounce and extra pace. This is a Test match. How does Natarajan normally gets his wickets? When people are trying to hit him. Also, you haven’t tested Natarajan by playing him for India A like you did with Mohammed Siraj, who has risen through the ranks,” said Ashish Nehra.
“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’s the difference,” he added.
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