The Navdeep Saini storm may strike soon!

Updated: Feb 10, 2020, 08:16 IST | Vimal Kumar | Auckland

India pacer, whose 45 against NZ went in vain on Saturday, has all the makings of a fine cricketer

India's Navdeep Saini in full flow against New Zealand during the second ODI at Auckland on Saturday. Pic /AFP
India's Navdeep Saini in full flow against New Zealand during the second ODI at Auckland on Saturday. Pic /AFP

Auckland: Navdeep Saini's highest score in first-class cricket is 42 and he surprised himself and everyone by getting to his highest score in his very first innings in an one-day international. In fact, he out-batted his senior partner Ravindra Jadeja in Auckland during the second match of the ODI series on Saturday.

When he arrived for the press conference, one could easily sense that he is still very raw and honest as far as his media interactions are concerned.

"Yes, I will regret it [the dismissal] when I go back and see the video. If I hadn't got out, maybe the result could have been different. I will regret that I took it so close and maybe could have gotten closer," confessed Saini, 27.

Cool guy

Haryana-based Saini has played 10 T20s and 4 ODIs so far and is also part of the Test team. Despite being a tear away bowler, Saini is not someone who loses control easily or gets hammered too frequently. His economy rate in T20s (7.15) is remarkable.

Adaptability has been his biggest strength and his emergence in Indian cricket bears testimony to that. It's now part of Delhi cricket's folklore how Saini, who had never bowled with a red ball until one fine day he got a chance during Delhi Ranji team's net session at the Roshanara cricket ground on a pleasant December morning in 2013.

It was Delhi skipper Gautam Gambhir who saw something special in Saini and backed him to the hilt. So much so that Gambhir even had a dirty fight with Bishan Singh Bedi and Chetan Chauhan and blasted them on Twitter when Saini made his T20 debut. And, now Saini is in a safer hands of another Delhite who is his national as well as his IPL captain.

For the last couple of years, Saini has either been part of India 'A' squads or bowling to the national team as a net bowler. The current New Zealand tour is a big learning experience for him and he knows that bowling in first-class cricket is different from international cricket, regardless of the format one plays.

Execution of plan vital

"The difference is that the margin of error is lower. Whatever you plan, you have to stick to it. I have to bowl as per the plan and stay mentally strong at this level," Saini said.

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