Navdeep Saini should play instead of Shardul Thakur in 2nd ODI against New Zealand, suggests Kapil Dev

Navdeep Saini should play instead of Shardul Thakur in 2nd ODI against New Zealand, suggests Kapil Dev

Kapil also said the team selection should never be picked on the basis of liking or disliking.

Navdeep Saini and Shardul Thakur
Navdeep Saini and Shardul Thakur. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Cricket is a cruel leveller. Shardul Thakur was a hero in the fourth T20I against New Zealand in Wellington recently by effecting a number of dismissals in the final over of the game to restrict the opponents who were looking favourites to run away with the game.

The 28-year-old was adjudged the man of the match after India went on to win the game in the super over. Five days later, he was a villain as he conceded 80 runs in his nine overs that helped the hosts chase down a steep target of 348 with almost two overs to spare.

Shardul gave India their first breakthrough when he picked veteran wicket-keeper Martin Guptill, who was caught by Kedar Jadhav but that was all that he could manage in the entire game. Shardul’s performance came under the scanner after the defeat and former India captain and legendary all-rounder Kapil Dev has suggested skipper Virat Kohli to try Navdeep Saini instead of Shardul in the must-win second ODI in Auckland on Saturday.

Kapil Dev stresses on a wicket-taking option

“You need a wicket-taking option. It is important to get Saini in the side not because India have lost the first ODI but he deserves a place in the side because of his pace and wicket-taking abilities. Look at Bumrah, he forces New Zealand to play him watchfully because whenever batsmen try to attack these bowlers can get wickets,” Hindustan Times quoted the World Cup-winning captain as saying.

Kapil also said the team selection should never be picked on the basis of liking or disliking. Saini is still in the early days of his career, having made his international debut against the West Indies in December. He played a couple of games later against Australia and has a total of five wickets in three outings at an average of 37 and an economy rate of 6.16.

Saini suffered a groin injury during a match in the Vijay Hazare Trophy last year but then replaced an injured Deepak Chahar in the series against the Caribbeans. Saini has impressed with his pace and accuracy in the Indian Premier League and India will look to exploit his skills in international games more regularly.

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