AUS v IND 2020-21: “Navdeep Saini bowled brilliantly on flat SCG track”, says Pragyan Ojha

Former India spinner Pragyan Ojha was pleased with Navdeep Saini’s selection over Shardul Thakur for the ongoing third Test of the four-Test series against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).

On Thursday, January 7, Saini was handed the Test debut cap and the bowler managed to make an immediate impact with the ball in his debut game, dismissing fellow Test debutant Will Pucovski (62) to get his maiden Test wicket in his very third over in Sydney.

On the Day 1 of the Sydney Test, Saini conceded 32 runs and took 1 scalp in his 7 overs, and Ojha was impressed with the Test debutante’s brilliant performance, saying the way he bowled with the line and speed in his first Test match at the batting-friendly SCG wicket, it was amazing to watch.

Ojha said on Sports Today: “He (Saini) was brilliant, he bowled brilliantly. We have to understand that the wicket here is different (as compared to the one in Melbourne and Adelaide). But the line and length he was bowling, he was easily touching that 140 (kmph), and that’s always a lovely sight.”

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He further added, “That is why Saini was chosen ahead of Shardul Thakur. They (Team India) wanted someone on this kind of a track that will be a little flat. They wanted someone who could bowl quick, and he was quick.

And mind you, it is only his first game. That anxiety will be there, but now after bowling those overs he will be much more settled and he will be planning what to do and how to go about it. But the way he bowled I was quite impressed.”

Ojha also felt it will be unfair to judge Jasprit Bumrah as he believes that not only he but all the Indian bowlers bowled really well but were unlucky to not have more wickets as Australia ended the opening day of the Sydney Test on 166/2 thanks to fifties from Pucovski and Marnus Labuschagne.

He further noted, “I think we are being too harsh on Bumrah. Yes, he did not take a wicket, but he has bowled well. All our bowlers have bowled well. We have to understand that the wicket is good (for batting). When you talk about Test cricket, it is about the sessions.”

Ojha signed off by saying, “One or two sessions were taken away by the Aussies, who knows next couple of sessions it will be Bumrah and the other bowlers who may do brilliantly.”

(With India Today Inputs)

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