Team India pacer Navdeep Saini has said that a lot of credit for the Indian players staying ready to take on Australia in the just-concluded 2020-21 Test series Down Under goes to head coach Ravi Shastri.
In a chat with TOI, the fast bowler revealed that all players in the team prepared with the same intensity every day. Navdeep Saini was quoted as saying in this regard:
“We were all prepared to take on responsibilities. Ravi (Shastri) sir told us all to prepare, saying 'your turn can come at any time'. He used to watch us closely in the nets. We all used to prepare at the same time and for the same duration with the same intensity. Ravi sir used to take us through different and tough conditions and asked us to practice accordingly.”
Navdeep Saini further added that both Ravi Shastri and skipper Ajinkya Rahane had words of encouragement for him ahead of the Gabba Test.
“Ravi sir spoke to me ahead of the Brisbane Test. He gave me the confidence and said 'don't experiment, just bowl the way you have been bowling. Just be mentally strong. You are the best'," said Navdeep Saini.
On Rahane’s advice, Navdeep Saini revealed:
“Ajinkya (Rahane) bhaiya came to me and said 'jaisa domestic mein daalta hai waise hi karna.' (Don't experiment or change anything. Bowl the way you've been bowling in domestic cricket).”
India went into the Gabba Test with their most inexperienced attack in decades owing to a spate of injuries to first-team players.
Navdeep Saini and Shardul Thakur were both playing their second Tests while T Natarajan and Washington Sundar were making their debuts. Mohammed Siraj, with only two Tests behind him, was the most experienced personnel in the bowling attack.
Navdeep Saini hopeful of featuring in the last two England Tests
Navdeep Saini picked up a groin injury during the Brisbane Test, which limited his involvement in the game. Unsurprisingly, he has not been included in the Indian squad for the first two Tests against England.
Providing an update on his injury, the pace bowler said:
"I am going to the NCA right now. I hope that I make it to the rest of the two Tests against England.”
Navdeep Saini further added that he is keen to build on the lessons learned from the tour Down Under.
“The Australia series gave me a lot of confidence and helped me mature as a bowler and a player. I want to perform the same way in the upcoming series.”
India take on England in a four-match series, which starts in Chennai on February 5.