Navdeep Saini Gives Credit to Gautam Gambhir For His Maiden Call-up

Published - 12 Jun 2018, 02:42 PM | Updated - 12 Jun 2018, 02:44 PM

Navdeep Saini
Credits: AP

Delhi fast bowler Navdeep Saini lauds former skipper Gautam Gambhir for his maiden call-up into the Indian squad. Saini was able to make the cut into Indian squad after Mohammed Shami was ruled out after failing the fitness test at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru.

Interestingly, Saini started bowling with the leather ball in 2013. Hitherto, he had bowled with tennis ball in local tournaments.

Thus, the fast bowler had no idea as to how he should bowl with the red-ball. It was then that opening batsman Gautam Gambhir, who spotted the early talent in him.

Vidarbha, Ranji Trophy 2017-18, Champions, Indore, Delhi, Akshay Wadkar,
Photo Credit: PTI.

Saini revealed that Gambhir gave him the confidence to bowl with freedom.

“Gautam Bhaiya told me “Jaise tennis ball se dalta hai, waise hi dal. Koi tension Nahi. Baaki sab theek ho jayega (Just bowl like you bowl with a tennis ball. Everything will fall in place). I did what he told me and today I am here because of him. I don’t know whenever I speak about Gautam Gambhir, I get emotional,” Saini told PTI.

Gambhir had to try really hard in convincing the Delhi and District Cricket Association’s (DDCA) selectors that Navdeep is good enough to play at the top level.

In fact, Gambhir’s judgement was overlooked in the beginning but he kept trying to convince the higher-ups.

Gautam Gambhir. Credits: Getty Images.

“I remember every tiny little thing. I know what Gautam Bhaiya had to go through to convince selectors that I was good enough to play for Delhi. Not to forget Ashish Nehra, Mithun Manhas, Sumit Narwal, who all stood by me.


“In fact, after first few matches, he (Gambhir) said that if I keep working hard at every practice session, I will play for India. He saw in me before I realised myself. Today when I look back on those days, I smile,” Saini added.

Rahul Dravid
Credits: BCCI

Saini impressed one and all with his performances in the last season of the premium domestic competition; Ranji Trophy.

However, his best performance came against Bengal in the semifinal clash where he consistently clocked 140 kph tp scalp seven wickets.

The fast bowler Navdeep Saini added India A coach Rahul Dravid had also provided him valuable tips.

“Before that performance against Bengal, I had already played for India A in South Africa. Rahul Dravid sir gave me a lot of valuable tips about variation consistency. Also spending time with Ashish Nehra in RCB during IPL was also of great help. My pace has increased and I have more control on my swing,” concluded the 25-year old pacer.