Cricket

Captain asked me if I could bowl: Navdeep Saini recalls how he battled pain to bowl at Gabba Test

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Ajinkya ‘bhaiya’ asked me if I could bowl with injury, I had to say yes: Navdeep Saini

By hindustantimes.com | PTI, New Delhi

PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 12:43 PM IST

The Indian cricket team were battling through a spate of injuries before the Brisbane Test and in the absence of key bowlers, fast bowler Navdeep Saini got a chance to play in the crucial match. It was Saini’s 2nd Test, and playing alongside a bowling unit comprising of two debutants (Washington Sundar and T Natarajan), the right-arm seamer was expected to be a key player.

But as luck would have it, Saini suffered a groin injury in the first innings, and had to leave the ground. But despite being in pain, Saini came back to bowl five overs in the 2nd innings, but could not take a wicket. Speaking a few days after the historic win at Gabba, Saini revealed why he decided to bowl in the 2nd innings despite injury.

“Ajinkya bhaiya asked me If I would be able to bowl with the injury, I just had to say yes,” Saini told news agency PTI.

“I was fine and suddenly I got injured. I was wondering ‘why it is happening in such a crucial game and have got the opportunity to play after a long time’.

“I just wished if could keep going with that injury and support my team. I knew I might not get a stage like that again. Captain asked me if I could do it. I was in pain but said I would do with whatever I could.

“I am recovering now and should be fit soon,” he said.

Saini, who has also played 10 T20 Internationals and seven ODIs, is not part of India’s squad for the first two home Tests against England starting February 5 in Chennai.

The right-arm bowler further revealed what Mohammed Siraj, who was described as the find of Australia tour by coach Ravi Shastri’s words kept telling him in between the innings when was he was bowling.

“He is one of my best mates. We have played a lot together (for India A). We talk a lot about bowling. He was always there for me in the first game. Pace is important but he was telling me to also focus on line and length to be effective.

“Siraj is a very different bowler. He showed a lot of courage by staying back after his father’s death. What he achieved was very crucial for the team and showed his character,” Saini signed off.

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