Jasprit Bumrah is slated to make a comeback in the Sri Lanka series after recovering from a back stress fracture. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Navdeep Saini and Jasprit Bumrah have never bowled together for the Indian cricket team. When Saini made his debut against the West Indies in the Caribbean, Bumrah was rested. When Saini played in the ODIs and Twenty20 Internationals at home, Bumrah was laid low by a stress fracture on his lower back. With Bumrah making a comeback after recovering from the injury and with Deepak Chahar out for a prolonged period of time due to a back stress fracture, the upcoming three-match Twenty20 International series against Sri Lanka could see Saini and Bumrah operate in tandem.
In an exclusive interview to PTI in Barsapara, Saini remarked that it was a chance for him to interact with Bumrah and know his strengths and weaknesses. "I can now share my weaknesses and shortcomings with him. I can learn more by watching him bowl. It will be a good opportunity for me. I am really looking forward to it. ur bowling attack is the strongest at the moment and that gives me that extra motivation. And that I have to work even harder to secure a regular spot," Saini said.
With Bumrah back in the mix, India's bowling assumes a potent shape. With the likes of Mohammed Shami rested and with Bhuvneshwar Kumar out due to injury, the likes of Ishant Sharma in Tests and with the return of Hardik Pandya later in the month, India's bowling combination is one of the strongest in the world. Saini acknowledges that getting a permanent spot in the current Indian team is not easy.
"From hereon, every match and series is important for me. If I do well, I can also grow well as a cricketer and the team will also win. I don't think too far ahead. Always I take one match at a time and think of giving my best every time. All my hard work paid off and I had a successful 2019. It's about putting in that extra mile again so as to secure my place. It's about becoming mentally strong. Everything boils down to the fact that how strong you are mentally. You can put in that hardwork of you are strong mentally," Saini said.
Saini had an impressive start to his India cricket team career during the three-match Twenty20 Internationals against West Indies. In his first match, he picked up 3/17 at Lauderhill which included a wicket in his first over and also a wicket maiden in the last over. In the second game, he went wicketless but in the third game, on a slow pitch, he picked up 2/34 as India whitewashed the West Indies 3-0. Looking at the performance of Saini, the Indian cricket team decided to keep Saini as a net bowler for the Tests against West Indies.