I just had to say yes: Navdeep Saini

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A groin strain prevented India pacer Navdeep Saini from giving his best in the Brisbane Test but fearing that he may not get such a big stage again, he remained at the beck and call of his captain and ended up bowling five overs despite injury.
Saini, 28, who finally made his Test debut in the Australia series after years of wait, said he risked aggravating his injury by bowling in the second innings but given what was at stake, “it was a no brainer”.
“Ajinkya bhaiya asked me If I would be able to bowl with the injury, I just had to say yes,” Saini, who was in the middle when Rishabh Pant hit the winning runs at the Gabba, said.
Saini suffers groin strain
Having taken four wickets in his debut game at Sydney, Saini suffered a groin strain in Australia’s first innings and could bowl only 7.5 overs at the Gabba, increasing concerns for an already injury-hit India, who were forced to go into the game with a bowling attack which had the combined experience of four games. For someone who made a massive leap of playing Ranji Trophy for Delhi in 2013 straight from making a quick buck in tennis ball cricket across Haryana, Saini wondered about the timing of his injury as he had just realised his dream of playing Tests.
Crucial game
But like rest of his teammates, he showed a steely resolve and carried on. “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 I 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,” said the lanky fast bowler.
Having not bowled with red-ball in Australia ever prior to the series, Saini said it was an enriching experience. “It is easy to get excited in Australia with the bounce on offer. It is natural to think about bowling short balls, but Test cricket is not only about that, it is about patience and bowling in the same channel consistently.”
With senior bowlers like Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav out of the series, the pressure to perform instantly had increased on the likes of Saini, who had not played Tests before but had a substantial experience of playing IPL and shorter formats for India. Saini is not part of India’s squad for the first two home Tests against England.
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