Days after becoming the fifth Indian player to sign a contract to play in the County Championship this year, Navdeep Saini made headlines on his competition's debut with Kent, returning 5-72 against Warwickshire on Wednesday. With Saini's recent heroics, the Indians continue to sparkle in England.
There have been five Indians -- Cheteshwar Pujara, Washington Sundar, Krunal Pandya, Umesh Yadav, and Navdeep Saini -- who have signed a deal with different county clubs this season. Saini, who is due to play two more County Championship games and five Royal London Cup matches, was the last among them. The Indian speedster made his debut in the ongoing Kent Cricket Club’s fixture against Warwickshire, but like many of his teammates, particularly Pujara, he impressed everyone immidiately.
After being folded for 165 in the first innings, Sam Billings-led Kent needed someone from the bowling unit to inspire. Then Saini became the man they were looking for as the 29-year-old completed a five-wicket haul to help his side bowl Warwickshire out for 225. He returned figures of 18-4-72-5, and in the process, he dismissed Chris Benjamin(7 off 21 balls), Dan Mousley (0 off 5 balls), Michael Burgess (0 off 10 balls), Henry Brookes (6 off 29 balls), and Craig Miles (5 off 19 balls). At stumps, Kent reached 198/4 in the second innings, leading Warwickshire by 138 runs.
Similar to Saini, Sundar too grabbed a five-wicket haul on his county cricket debut with Lancashire. While Pujara, who is currently captaining Sussex for the first time, hit a magnificent double hundred --his third in seven outings with the club.
Here's Saini's all five wickets shared by Kent Cricket on social media: