India’s Navdeep Saini, who battled through injury in the fourth Test at the Gabba, revealed that it was heart-shattering to get injured mid-match, but stated that he had no hesitation in bowling through pain upon the captain’s request. Saini also stated that he expects to get fully fit very soon.
An injury to their ‘second-most experienced bowler’ was the last thing India needed at the Gabba, but things looked grim when Navdeep Saini broke down in the middle of a gruelling spell on the very first day. The prospect of managing a whole Test with four inexperienced bowlers seemed frightening, but to everyone’s pleasant surprise, the Haryana-born speedster came back to bowl in the second innings, and sent down 5 overs amidst pain.
Though Saini’s overs did not yield wickets, it just about embodied the kind of fighting spirit that helped a depleted Indian side overcome the mighty Australians. Speaking of what went through his mind in the final Test, Saini revealed that he was devastated when he picked up the injury but claimed that he bowled through pain after skipper Rahane asked him if he could.
"Ajinkya bhaiya asked me If I would be able to bowl with the injury, I just had to say yes," Saini told PTI.
"I was fine and suddenly I got injured. I was wondering 'why it is happening in such a crucial game and have got the opportunity to play after a long time'.
"I just wished if could keep going with that injury and support my team. I knew I might not get a stage like that again. Captain asked me if I could do it. I was in pain but said I would do with whatever I could. I am recovering now and should be fit soon.”
The 28-year-old tearaway picked up 4 wickets in his first Test, but he described the LBW of Will Pucovski - his first wicket - as his favourite. Having conceded 15 runs off his first 2 overs in Test cricket, Saini tailed a ball back in and trapped Pucovski plumb in front, not only ending the youngster’s resistance but also breaking a crucial stand that threatened to take the game away from the visitors.
"All wickets were special but yes you can't forget the first one. Because until that happens, you keep thinking about that first wicket,” he said.
Indian pacers of yesteryear have come and faltered in Australia due to being carried away with pace, but that was not the case with the current lot. Saini himself, despite conceding a boundary every now and then, was guilty of only overpitching the ball and not dragging it short. The seamer stated that mental strength is key to succeeding in Australia, and revealed that he was being mentored and supported by the seniors, including Rohit Sharma.
"It is easy to get excited in Australia with the bounce on offer. It is natural to think about bowling short balls then but Test cricket is not only about that, it is about patience and bowling in the same channel consistently.
"To be able to do well in Australia, you have to be mentally very strong, they don't give up till the every end. The management was very supportive including the captain and Rohit bhaiya. They all told me to bowl the way I would bowl in Ranji Trophy.”
Saini, currently nursing an injury, was earlier left out of the squad for the first two Tests against England, starting next month.