Navdeep Saini has replaced Deepak Chahar in the Indian cricket team squad for the third and deciding ODI against the West Indies at the Barabati stadium. In a statement released by the BCCI, it read, "Deepak felt mild pain in his lower back following the second ODI played in Vizag on Wednesday. The BCCI medical team examined him and has suggested that the fast bowler needs some rest in order to fully recover. He has thus been thus ruled out of the final ODI." India lost the first ODI in Chennai by eight wickets but centuries from Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul helped India bounce back in style and level the series with a 107-run win in Vizag.
Saini had made a dream debut in the first Twenty20 International against West Indies in Florida. Saini took two wickets in his first over in international cricket which included Nicholas Pooran and Shimron Hetmyer. It was the wicket of Pooran which saw Saini celebrate a bit too aggressively. After Pooran top-edged a short ball and was caught by Rishabh Pant, Saini raised his arms and aggressively pointed Pooran to go back to the West Indies dressing room. Pooran was clearly not happy with the incident as he walked off.
The celebrations have resulted in Saini getting one demerit point. "Saini was found to have breached Article 2.5 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel, which relates to using actions or gestures which could provoke an aggressive reaction from a batter upon their dismissal," said the ICC in a statement. "He has also been handed one demerit point," the statement added. Saini was charged by the on-field umpires Nigel Duguid and Gregory Braithwaite, third umpire Leslie Reifer and fourth official Patrick Gustard. He admitted the offence and accepted the sanction proposed by match referee Jeff Crowe of the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Match Referees. Hence, there was no need for a formal hearing.
Saini had an impressive start to his India cricket team career during the three-match Twenty20 Internationals against West Indies. In his first match, he picked up 3/17 at Lauderhill which included a wicket in his first over and also a wicket maiden in the last over. In the second game, he went wicketless but in the third game, on a slow pitch, he picked up 2/34 as India whitewashed the West Indies 3-0.
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Looking at the performance of Saini, the Indian cricket team has decided to keep Saini as a net bowler for the upcoming two-Test series against West Indies. A senior BCCI official told PTI that Saini has been groomed for future red ball assignments. "Yes, Navdeep Saini has been asked to stay back by the team management for the Test series. He will stay back primarily as a net bowler, they want to groom him for the Test format keeping an eye on the future. Saini has been a performer in red ball cricket for the past few years. He has the pace, and ability to hit the deck, move the ball both in air and off the pitch. If he is groomed well, it will only increase our pool of fast bowlers for the top tier cricket. That's how the team management is looking at him," the official said.