Hurling yorkers like Jasprit Bumrah and master death bowling is among the few tricks Navdeep Saini wants to learn while steaming in at nets alongside one of the world’s best bowlers and his lieutenants. The pacer from Karnal, who plays for Delhi in domestic cricket and represents Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL, will be flying to the United Kingdom for the ICC World Cup as one of India’s four net bowlers for the showpiece. Bumrah’s unplayable yorkers aside, Saini also wants to learn from Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami. “We have spoken briefly in the IPL but not much as we were busy with our respective franchises. Bhuvi bhai’s swing, Bumrah bhai’s yorker and the way Shami Bhai seams after pitching on the length is just amazing. I hope I will learn these things from them and become a better bowler,” Saini told PTI during an interview.
Playing under Virat Kohli at RCB, the 26-year-old took 11 wickets in 13 matches, bowling 141 dot balls which were among the top-10 in the recently-concluded IPL. “It was a great learning experience playing under the Indian captain. He always backed me. He told me never to take any pressure and always keep the intensity high. Give your 110 percent effort. It has become a habit for me now,” Saini said from Haryana. “Selection is a different thing and not in my hands. But first you have to be prepared and ready, and overcome your weaknesses.” He is paying a lot of attention to death bowling these days, something Bumrah has mastered.
“My focus currently is on improving my death bowling and backing my strength — bowling hard length ball that comes on top of the stumps. “It’s a deadly delivery. We think batsmen will hit you, but if you make slight variation and bowl in the same area, it becomes very difficult to clear.” Saini has impressed with his pace in his first IPL season and was the fastest among Indians, clocking 152.85 kph, which was second only to South Africa’s Kagiso Rabada‘s at 154.23 kph. “Performing alongside the stars of international cricket always boosts your confidence. It’s a great opportunity for me. My bowling coach (Ashish Nehra bhaiya) also helped me a lot. He told me on how to back yourself, and become a better bowler.”
Saini’s journey from playing tennis ball tournaments to making a mark for Delhi with the help of Gautam Gambhir is well documented. Giving full credit to the former India batsman, he said: “I can never forget Gautam bhaiya’s contribution in my career. It’s all because of him I’m here. Every time I do something, Gautam bhaiya’s name will always come.
“After my family, it’s always Gautam bhaiya. I played nowhere, even in Haryana nobody knew me. It was Gautam bhaiya who brought me in and made me play for Delhi. Everybody knows about it now. The way he backed me and trusted in my abilities, I would never forget in my life,” he concluded.
(With PTI Inputs)