Three things you need to know about Navdeep Saini

Navdeep Saini has been picked for the upcoming West Indies tour.
Navdeep Saini has been picked for the upcoming West Indies tour.
Vinay Chhabria

India did not have a great end to their World Cup 2019 campaign as they suffered a heart-breaking loss to New Zealand in the semi-finals. However, with the World Cup coming to an end, all the teams will now shift focus back to their assignments in the busy ICC calendar. India are all set to travel to West Indies next to play three T20s, three ODIs and two Test matches.

The selectors have already announced the squad which has taken a few fans by surprise. Among the relatively new faces, Royal Challengers Bangalore’s fast bowler Navdeep Saini may finally get the chance to play international cricket after being in and around the squad for some time.

After consistent performances in the Ranji Trophy and IPL 2019, Saini may don the blue jersey against the West Indies and this might prove to be a game-changing move for the Indian side as he is definitely one for the future. However, Saini had to struggle hard before getting to the top.

This article features three things you need to know about the rising pacer.

#3 He used to play matches for ₹200 in his struggling days

Navdeep Saini.
Navdeep Saini.

It is the dream of every domestic cricketer to play international cricket for his nation. However, the journey to the top is riddled with difficulties. Saini had also faced a lot of problems in his earlier days before finally making it big.

The fast bowler from Delhi shocked the entire world when he was bought by the Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2018. He did not get many chances to prove his worth while playing for Delhi Daredevils in the year 2017 but, his selection in RCB’s team proved to be one of the turning points of his career.

Before coming into the spotlight, the pacer, according to the Press Trust of India, used to play tennis-ball cricket in local tournaments in Karnal for just ₹200 per match.

#2. He was the leading wicket-taker for Delhi in 2017-18 Ranji trophy and 2018-19 Vijay Hazare Trophy

Navdeep Saini plays for Delhi in the domestic circuit.
Navdeep Saini plays for Delhi in the domestic circuit.

Every cricketer gets a national call-up on the back of his performances in the domestic tournaments and IPL. Navdeep Saini had performed extremely well in various domestic tournaments and his consistent showings for Delhi have finally reaped dividends. His best performances came in the Ranji Trophy 2017-18 and Vijay Hazare Trophy 2018-19.

While playing for Delhi, Navdeep Saini emerged as the leading wicket-taker for his side in 2017-18 Ranji Trophy. He bagged 34 wickets in just eight matches with the help of his right-arm swinging action. His magnificent bowling performances took Delhi to the final of Ranji Trophy.

The fast bowler also continued his fine form in the limited overs format. He was the leading wicket-taker of his side in the 2018-19 Vijay Hazare Trophy. He grabbed 16 wickets from eight matches in that tournament.

#1. Gautam Gambhir played a huge role in shaping his career

Gautam Gambhir.
Gautam Gambhir.

Not every budding cricketer gets a mentor who will guide him through the perilous journey to the top. In Saini’s case, however, former World Cup winner, Gautam Gambhir emerged as the driving force in his fledgling career. Saini had played various domestic tournaments for Delhi under the leadership of Gambhir. The Indian opener was the one who recognized his talent and gave him the chance to feature in the senior domestic team.

After winning the semi-final of Ranji Trophy 2017-18, Saini got quite emotional when asked about his team’s captain, Gambhir. He stated in a post-match interview to PTI that, “I owe this life and my success to Gautam Gambhir. I was a nobody and Gautam bhaiyaa did everything for me.”

Thus, Gambhir had played a huge role in Saini’s career and, by all means, the former Delhi captain-turned-politician bet on the right horse.

Edited by S Chowdhury
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