India have handed Navdeep Saini his Test debut as he is all set to feature in the third Test match against Australia that commences on 7th January. Saini replaces the injured Umesh Yadav who has been sent back to India to begin his rehabilitation program. In another change, Rohit Sharma returned to the squad, replacing Mayank Agarwal and will open the innings for the visitors.
Rohit Sharma’s last Test match was in December 2019 and his last Test away from home was way back in December 2018 against the same opponents. With regular captain, Virat Kohli missing from the squad, the selectors named Rohit Sharma as the vice-captain for the remaining two Test matches.
“We all are really excited to have him back,” captain Ajinkya Rahane said of Rohit. “His experience at the highest level matters a lot. He is batting really well in the nets. He has had seven nets sessions. He came to Melbourne, and started his practice straightaway after the Test got over. He has been batting really well. The last couple of series he has batted as an opener, so you will definitely see Rohit at the top [of the order],” he added.
The four match Test series is equally poised after two Tests with the score being level at 1-1. The visitors earned a thumping victory over Australia in the Boxing Day Test match to level the series.
India XI for Sydney Test: 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 Shubman Gill, 3 Cheteshwar Pujara, 4 Ajinkya Rahane (capt), 5 Hanuma Vihari, 6 Rishabh Pant (wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Jasprit Bumrah, 10 Navdeep Saini, 11 Mohammed Siraj
Mayank Agarwal was dropped from the side after a few poor performances with the bat. His last few scores against Australia and New Zealand are- 34, 58, 7, 3, 17, 9, 0, 5. India will be handing out a Test debut to another pacer, Navdeep Saini just after they handed Siraj his test debut in the Boxing Day Test.