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RCB effect? – Saini’s selection for second India-Australia ODI questioned

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

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.

 

 

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.

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