Praising Saini, former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir said the fast bowler’s stupendous show against the Islanders must have left captain Virat Kohli feeling like a millionaire.
“Like a healthy Sensex is indicative of a thriving economy, Navdeep Saini’s form indicates that systems in Indian cricket are robust and productive. His story was devoid of direction and purpose but now his life and bowling has both. The spell that he bowled in Indore in the second T20I against Sri Lanka must have left captain Virat Kohli feeling like a millionaire,” Gambhir wrote in his column for Times of India.
“Besides Saini, Kohli has Jaspreet Bumrah, Mohammad Shami, Deepak Chahar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and a revitalised Ishant Sharma to shape his attack. While I don’t like to look too much into the future, India’s fast bowling resources will make them proud,” Gambhir said.
Gambhir also recalled the time when a young Navdeep was introduced to him by his former Delhi team-mate Sumit Narwal.
“Saini was introduced to me by my Delhi teammate Sumit Narwal during the 2013-14 domestic season. I was trying to make it back to the Indian team while captaining the Delhi team. We were always on the lookout for quality fast bowlers. Narwal got Saini to bowl at a net practice of the Delhi Ranji team. But he almost didn’t make it to that practice session. Narwal later told me that Saini was keener on playing a tennis-ball game rather than bowling as a net bowler of the Delhi Ranji team,” Gambhir said.
“Destiny had something else in store. Saini’s tennis-ball match got cancelled and he called up Narwal late that night to say he will accompany him to Ferozeshah Kotla. Narwal had noticed Saini, a lean young boy, in Karnal Premier League and other local cricket tournaments. Apparently he was sold for Rs 2100 for 4-5 games! It’s a different story that five years later RCB picked up Saini for Rs 3 crore. I will leave out the multiple appreciation mathematics to you,” Gambhir added.