The Indian cricket team announced their playing 11 for the Sydney Test against Australia that will begin on January 7. Navdeep Saini, the Delhi pacer, will make his debut and he will replace Umesh Yadav who was ruled out of the series due to a calf injury. Rohit Sharma is all set to play his first Test since November 2019 as he too makes a comeback. Navdeep Saini has played seven ODIs and 10 Twenty20 Internationals and has impressed with his extra pace. Navdeep Saini was a vital member of the Royal Challengers Bangalore franchise in the Indian Premier League. Ashish Nehra, the former India pacer, had stated that Navdeep Saini’s extra pace and his ability to generate bounce would make him an ideal fit for the Sydney wicket. In 46 First Class games, he has taken 128 wickets at an average of 28.46. The other significant addition will be Rohit Sharma, who is playing his first Test since November 2019. He had missed the New Zealand Tests and the first two games against Australia due to injury.

Ajinkya Rahane had said in the pre-match press conference that Rohit Sharma would be a vital member of the Indian top order so one might see Rohit opening the batting with Mayank Agarwal or bat at No.4. The opening slot with Mayank Agarwal is up for grabs between Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma. Rohit Sharma had started his practice on December 30 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground after finishing his 14-day quarantine.

Rohit the X-factor

Rohit Sharma’s performance in the three Tests against South Africa was brilliant as he smashed a double century and two more centuries to end the series with an average of 132. That series was the tipping point and gave Rohit Sharma the ultimate recognition as an opener in Tests. Rohit Sharma has a fabulous record against Australia and his experience will come in handy as India look to seize upon the advantage they have established after winning the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne.

More to come

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