INDIA A TOUR OF WEST INDIES, 2019
Saini bowled six overs in the practice game against West Indies A. © Getty
Navdeep Saini, the 26-year old right-arm fast bowler, who made his Twenty20 International debut in the recently concluded series against West Indies, has been asked to stay back with the team for the upcoming Tests as a cover for the pace bowlers. The Indian team management is said to be keen on having him as a net bowler during the Tests with a view to groom him for future assignments.
Saini had previously been sent to the 2019 World Cup as a cover for pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar and had impressed the management with his ability to procure raw pace. He enjoyed a fine debut at Lauderhill in the first T20I against West Indies, returning with the Man of the Match award for his figures of 3 for 17.
“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,” a senior BCCI official told PTI on Monday (August 19).
Despite being not part of the Test squad, Saini bowled six overs in the ongoing practice match against West Indies ‘A’ in Antigua with the management opting to rest Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami.
“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 top tier cricket. That’s how the team management is looking at him,” the official added.
The presence of the Delhi seamer with the team will also help the bowling coach, Bharat Arun, to invest more time on developing his skills. “One can’t ignore the effort that Arun has put in to make India’s fast bowling unit the best that has emerged from the country. Rather than playing domestic cricket, he now needs to be in and around the international scene and learn the tricks of the trade for the next level,” the officer concluded.