India named an unchanged XI for the second ODI against Australia after a crushing 66-run defeat in the first match of the series, but one retention, in particular, that of an off-colour Navdeep Saini, made a section of Indian fans question the selection policy.
Saini, playing only his sixth ODI, conceded 83 runs from his quota of 10 overs in the first ODI, following which there were calls for the inclusion of T Natarajan or Shardul Thakur in his stead. However, soon after captain Virat Kohli revealed during the toss that India are going in with an unchanged side; it didn’t take long for fans to take to Twitter and express their displeasure.
The reactions from fans only increased in volume after Saini was hit for a six by David Warner on his first delivery of the match. But as Aakash Chopra pointed out, Saini was in fact bowling into the wind and thus struggled to start with. As reactionary as the Indian fan base is, some also suggested that the Delhi quick is being selected into the XI due to ‘RCB bias’ – baseless suggestions, of course. As it turned out, Saini ended up giving 70 runs from his seven overs in the second ODI.
#AUSvIND 2nd ODI
Shami and bumrah were creating pressure on both batsmen and there you go , kohli gave bowling to RCB teammate Saini for creating RCB effect, Six on first ball by Warner pic.twitter.com/N3sNIoVjXK
— Umang Bhavsar (@umabhai04) November 29, 2020
So…the attempt is to get Bumrah and Shami bowl with the wind. Not a bad idea to give your best bowlers some help….but that also means that Saini is running into a strong wind. And he is struggling. Might as well get an over of Chahal in the PP overs. #AusvInd
— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) November 29, 2020
Saini not doing well in his spell.
Better look at Shardul or Natarajan next game
— Rohan R Shanbhag (@rony619619) November 29, 2020
He is sitting on bench when underperformed Saini had given chance. This is called kholitics.. 🙄 pic.twitter.com/DpU2hDf3ig
— Karthik (@Karthik213716) November 29, 2020
— Mani Kalyan (@ManiKalyan_) November 29, 2020
2nd ODI: Saini’s Bowling average is Higher than Virat Kohli’s Batting Average, Still playing because of RCB connection, India should look for more consistent players. 😪😪
Meanwhile we fans: 🥺😭#AUSvsIND pic.twitter.com/X7b5mpD99n
— Madhav (@madhaavvvvv) November 29, 2020
How times change – Dhoni was criticised for favouring CSK players for Indian team. Jadeja, Raina, Ashwin were match winners.
But nothing I hear from critics on Virat on his RCB bias – Saini, Sundar, Dubey, Chahal, Umesh etc. Apart from Chahal no one has proven their worth yet!
— 𝓢𝓾𝓳𝓲𝓽 𝓚𝓾𝓶𝓪𝓻 𝓢𝓪𝓱𝓸𝓸 (@psyclistsujju) November 29, 2020
Why are Saini and Chahal still playing after that terrible performance when they have Thakur and Kuldeep? Do India want to lose?”
Oh they are from RCB.
So the result will be same.
— Tanmoy Dey (@TanmoyD92405869) November 29, 2020
Bowling average of Chamchas. Familiar story. Kohli is a worthless captain and a player now. He is not the same guy any more. pic.twitter.com/nAxpDbt92X
— 𝓟𝓮𝓷𝓭𝓾 𝓟𝓻𝓸𝓯𝓮𝓼𝓼𝓸𝓻 (@PenduProfessor) November 29, 2020
With the Indian team short on all-round options, especially as Hardik Pandya isn’t fit enough to bowl, all five of their bowlers in the XI had to bowl all 10 overs of their quota in the first ODI, even when they struggled to find his rhythm.
India eventually had to call on Mayank Agarwal, who had previously bowled just 30 deliveries in List A cricket with no wicket to his name, as their sixth bowler in the second match. As it turned out, captain Kohli eventually turned to Pandya as well to roll his arm over as well.