Navdeep Saini will be another backup pacer option as India will be without the services of pacers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ishant Sharma both of whom suffered injuries in ongoing IPL as they begin their title defence of Border Gavaskar trophy in Australia.
All-rounder Hardik Pandya is unable to bowl too due to recovering from a back injury. In contrast, Bhuvneshwar Kumar (hip and thigh injury) and Ishant Sharma (rib cage injury) may be unavailable for the Australian series which is scheduled to commence from 17th December after the conclusion of IPL on November 10.
Hardik Pandya Can’t Bowl And Unfit For Tests
Selectors will face a dilemma of sorts and have to rethink about the pace attack, which will be a key factor as the trio may not be selected considering injuries. Navdeep Saini may get a nod for the Test Series along with T20I and ODI series which follows. Hardik Pandya may not be selected considering 5 days play in Test matches as his body may not be suited to take so much pressure.
“His [Pandya’s] body can’t take the longer version at the moment, he is fine for the shorter versions though,” a source in the board said.
It is learnt that Hardik Pandya has changed his bowling action after undergoing back surgery in London which is being monitored by former Indian pacer Zaheer Khan at the Mumbai Indians franchise.
Navdeep Saini Will Probably Join Jasprit Bumrah And Mohammed Shami
The frontrunners in the pace attack, therefore, remain another MI pacer Jasprit Bumrah and Kings XI pacer Mohammed Shami, with Navdeep Saini as the third seamer.
Due to Cricket Australia not announcing final itinerary yet, the selection committee meeting is delayed to some extent but maybe in this week itself. On the other hand, BCCI wants some relaxation in quarantine rules. BCCI wants training facilities to be used by cricketers after spending seven days of isolation in Australia, although they are ready to adhere to the 14-day quarantine regulation.
The players will fly to Australia from Dubai after completion of the IPL, while the others, including support staff, are likely to reach Australia by the end of this month.
BCCI is also planning to arrange a few practice games for Test specialists like Cheteshwar Pujara and Hanuma Vihari in Dubai who are not in any IPL team. They will fly to Australia without playing recent competitive games and are short of match practice.
Navdeep Saini is yet to appear in a Test and has only played 5 ODIs and 10 T20Is.