Navdeep 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 has decided to keep Saini as a net bowler for the upcoming two-Test series against West Indies. A senior BCCI official told PTI that Saini has been groomed for future red ball assignments.
"Yes, Navdeep Saini has been asked to stay back by the team management for the Test series. He will stay back primarily as a net bowler, they want to groom him for the Test format keeping an eye on the future. Saini has been a performer in red ball cricket for the past few years. He has the pace, and ability to hit the deck, move the ball both in air and off the pitch. If he is groomed well, it will only increase our pool of fast bowlers for the top tier cricket. That's how the team management is looking at him," the official said.
It is believed that if Saini stays back, it will help bowling coach Bharath Arun to invest more time in the 26-year-old Karnal-lad, who has taken 120 wickets from 43 first-class games with three five-wicket hauls.
"One can't ignore the effort that Arun has put in to make India's fast bowling unit the best that has emerged from the country. Rather than playing domestic cricket, he now needs to be in and around the international scene and learn the tricks of the trade for the next level," he said.
India will play five Test matches at home this season with three against South Africa and two against Bangladesh. It will not be a bad idea to blood Saini against Bangladesh since the management would be monitoring Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami's respective workloads.