India vs Australia: ‘He’s done the same,’ Parthiv Patel explains why Navdeep Saini was picked over T Natarajan for Sydney Test

Right-arm pacer Navdeep Saini replaced the injured Umesh Yadav for the Sydney Test when India announced their playing XI on Wednesday. As Saini finally fulfilled his dream to represent India in the longest format of the game, former India wicketkeeper-batsman Parthiv Patel weighed in on the 28-year-old’s selection over left-arm quick T Natarajan.

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In a conversation with Cricbuzz, Patel had suggested that Saini has done everything which makes him eligible to play for India against the Australians.

“I will play Navdeep Saini because he has travelled with the Indian Test side for the last 1.5 years. He has maintained his place as the fourth or fifth seamer in the side. And like Siraj made his place in the team by performing for India A, Navdeep Saini has done the same and he has bowled well everywhere. So, considering the First-Class record and current form, I think Navdeep Saini will come into the team,” Patel had said before India announced their playing XI.

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Saini has played 46 First-Class matches and has 128 wickets to his credit. The pacer also has four five-wicket hauls and as many four-wicket-hauls. Patel had also explained why it was too early to play T Natarajan in the Sydney Test.

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“I think this year has been brilliant for T Natarajan but this success has been in white-ball cricket only. He is a tempting option to include in the eleven. But it will send the wrong message that you are playing someone Test cricket on the basis of his IPL form,” Patel had said.

The 29-year-old left-arm pacer was initially added to India’s touring contingent as a net bowler. He then replaced injured players in the limited-overs squads and performed brilliantly. After the conclusion of Boxing Day Test which India won by 8 wickets, he was included the Test squad as well, replacing Umesh, who was ruled out due to a calf injury.

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