India In A Selection Dilemma With Injured Navdeep Saini Adding To The Concerns After Covid-19 Outbreak Results In Isolation Of Players
Navdeep Saini holds his arm in pain as Shikhar Dhawan attends to him, during the second Sri Lanka-India T20I on Wednesday. - AP
Navdeep Saini holds his arm in pain as Shikhar Dhawan attends to him, during the second Sri Lanka-India T20I on Wednesday. - AP
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India In A Selection Dilemma With Injured Navdeep Saini Adding To The Concerns After Covid-19 Outbreak Results In Isolation Of Players

India was having a good time but it seems the tide has now changed for the Men in Blue. The Shikhar Dhawan-led side, which is already missing key eight players due to Covid-19’s stringent protocol, will now miss another fast bowler in Navdeep Saini who had sustained a shoulder injury which may mean that he won’t be available for the third and final T20I against Sri Lanka tonight.

The incident took place during Sri Lanka’s chase last night at Colombo. Navdeep Saini was fielding at extra cover when he tried to catch a ball hit by Chamika Karunaratne. Although Navdeep Saini leapt into the air, he couldn’t reach the ball. Later, he landed on his shoulder and winced in pain.

Navdeep Saini. (TOI Photo)
Navdeep Saini. (TOI Photo)

India In A Selection Dilemma With 9 Players Isolated Due To Krunal Pandya’s Covid While Navdeep Saini Is Injured

Things are getting pretty bad for Team India which is now running out of players, to say the least. Earlier Krunal Pandya was diagnosed with Covid-19 which also saw a number of players getting isolated. With Navdeep Saini now getting injured, it needs to be seen how management pulls together a playing eleven.

Navdeep Saini has impressed in T20Is where his bowling average is 18.07 as he had 13 scalps in 11 T20Is. But his ODI and Test averages(80 and 43 respectively) are not up to expectations.

Shikhar Dhawan
Shikhar Dhawan (Getty Images)(HT_PRINT)

Navdeep Saini did not bowl a single over in the game and was taken off the field in the penultimate over of the Sri Lanka innings when he injured his shoulder while fielding at extra cover. With eight of its players in isolation following all-rounder Krunal Pandya’s positive COVID-19 test, the depleted Indian team lost by four wickets.

Put into bat, India was restricted to 132 for 5, with skipper Shikhar Dhawan top-scoring with a 40. The host then chased the target with four wickets in hand and two balls to spare, with Dhananjaya de Silva hitting a match-winning unbeaten 40.

Sandeep Warrier And Ishan Porel Likely To Replace Navdeep Saini

A depleted Covid-19-hit India without several key batsmen defended resolutely but ultimately the target they set wasn’t enough with Sri Lanka who comfortably chased down 133 in 19.4 overs to level the three-match series at one-all with one game remaining. Batting first, India struggled for momentum with Sri Lanka bowlers doing well to keep them quiet, keeping them to a modest 132/5 in the second T20I at the R Premadasa Stadium on Wednesday.

Ishan Porel in action during the U-19 WC Getty
Ishan Porel in action during the U-19 WC Getty

India’s cricket board (BCCI) said that the eight players in question had tested negative on Wednesday afternoon, but were being asked to isolate as a precaution.  Playing with only five frontline batsmen and put in to bat, India struggled to get going, with the Sri Lanka spinners taking advantage of a slow wicket that was offering ample turn.

All four net bowlers — Ishan Porel, Sandeep Warrier, Simarjeet Singh, and R Sai Kishore — have been included in the main team with nine players unavailable. Chances are that Sandeep Warrier will be the first-choice pacer to replace the Delhi cricketer; while Ishan Porel is also in the fray. The Bengal speedster was part of India’s under-19 world cup winning squad back in 2018.