AUS vs IND: “Ajinkya Bhaiya asked me if I could use the injury”, I had to say yes, Navdeep Saini reveals


A groin injury prevented India pacemaker Navdeep Saini from doing his best in the Brisbane Test, but fearing he might not get such a big podium again, he kept on the beck and call of his captain, finishing five overs despite an injury. bowling. The 28-year-old, who finally made his Test debut in the Australia series after years of waiting, said he risked exacerbating his injury by bowling in the second innings, but given what was at stake, “it was one. no brainer “.

“Ajinkya bhaiya asked me if I would be able to bowl with the injury, I just had to say yes,” Saini, who was in the middle when Rishabh Pant hit the winning points at the Gabba, told PTI.

After taking four wickets in his debut game in Sydney, Saini suffered a groin injury in Australia’s first innings and was able to throw only 7.5 overs at the Gabba, raising concerns about an already injured India, which was forced went into the game with a bowling attack that had the combined experience of four games.

For someone who took a giant leap in 2013 playing Ranji Trophy for Delhi right after making a quick dollar in tennis ball cricket over Haryana, Saini wondered how his injury was going to come as he just had his dream realized to play Tests.

But like the rest of his teammates, he showed an iron determination and kept going.

“I was fine and suddenly I got injured. I wondered” why it happens in such a crucial game and I got the chance to play after a long time “.

“I just wish I could continue with that injury and support my team. I knew I might not get another podium like that. The captain asked me if I could. would do what I could.

“I’m on the mend now and should be fit soon,” said the lanky fast bowler from Karnal who was quickly followed by former India opener Gautam Gambhir in first-class cricket and received his first test call in 2018.

Saini, who has also played 10 T20 Internationals and seven ODIs, will not be part of the Indian squad for the first two home tests against England from February 5 in Chennai.

Of his four Test wickets, the first was the most special because he trapped another debutant, Will Pucovski, for the stumps with a full and fast inbound delivery.

‘All wickets were special, but yeah, you can’t forget the first. Because until that happens, you keep thinking about that first wicket. ‘

With senior bowlers like Mohammad Shami and Umesh Yadav from the series, the pressure to perform immediately had increased on the likes of Saini, who had not played Tests before but had considerable experience playing IPL and shorter formats for India .

Saini said it was an enriching experience as he had never bowled a red ball in Australia.

“It’s easy to get excited in Australia with the bounce on offer. It’s normal to think about short ball bowling, but Test cricket isn’t just about that, it’s about patience and consistent bowling in the same channel.

“To do well in Australia you have to be very strong mentally, they don’t give up until the end. The management was very supportive including the captain and Rohit bhaiya. They all said I should bowl like I would bowl in. the Ranji Trophy, ”said Saini, who is back home after five long months in the world of biobubbles.

Mohammed Siraj, the find from the tour of Australia in the words of coach Ravi Shastri, was seen consistently advising Saini in the latter’s first test. It helped the Delhi forward tremendously as he and Siraj went a long way back.

“He’s one of my best friends. We played a lot together (for India A). We talk a lot about bowling. He was always there for me in the first match. Pace is important, but he told me I had to play too. focus online and length to be effective.

“Siraj is a very different bowler. He showed great courage in staying back after the death of his father. What he achieved was very crucial to the team and showed his character.”


Speaking of his extraordinary journey, Saini, son of a bus driver, said he never intended to become a professional cricketer, it was just fate.

“I played tennis ball most of my growing years. It all started when I played the Ranji trophy. Then I felt I could play professionally. Before that I just played without a goal, I had no idea. It all happened one step ahead. step after I played for Delhi, ”added Saini.

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