Navdeep Saini could not perform his best in the Brisbane Test due to a groin injury, but fearing not getting a chance to play again, he bowled five overs despite the injury at the captain’s behest. 28-year-old Saini, who made his Test debut in Australia after years of waiting, said, “Jinkya Bhaiya asked if I can bowl despite the injury, I had to say yes.”
When Rishabh Pant scored a winning run in Gaba, Saini was at the other end. After taking four wickets in his first Test in Sydney, Saini got hurt in Australia’s first innings on Gaba and was 7. Could only put 5 overs. The Indian team was already troubled by the fitness problem of the players.
‘Wanted to play despite injury’
Saini said, ‘I was fine but suddenly got hurt. I wondered why I got hurt in such an important match when I got a chance to play after so many years. All I wanted was to be able to play despite the injury. May never get such an opportunity again. The captain asked if I could play. I was in pain but I said that I will do whatever I can. ‘
Rohit returns to Team India for third Test match against Australia, Saini’s debut
Saini said, “Now I am recovering and will be fit soon.” Saini, who has played 10 T20 and seven ODIs so far, is not in the Indian team for the first two matches of the Test series against England starting on February 5.
‘All wickets are special’
Asked about the most valuable of his four Test wickets, he said, ‘All wickets are special but never forget the first wicket. Until that is found, you keep thinking about the first wicket. It is but natural to be thrilled by the bounce on Australian pitches. In such a situation, there is the temptation to bowl short ball, but Test cricket is not just that. It has to be performed consistently by keeping restraint. To be good in Australia, it is important to be mentally strong. They do not give up till the end. The Indian team management was very supportive which included the captain and Rohit Bhaiya. He said that I should bowl just like I do in Ranji Trophy.
‘Siraj is one of the closest friends’
Regarding the association with Mohmmed Siraj, Saini said, ‘He is one of my closest friends. We have played a lot of cricket for India A. We talk a lot about bowling. He was helping me a lot in the first match. After his father’s demise, he stopped and showed how strong he was. His achievement is very important for the team.