Navdeep Saini didn’t get a chance to share the new ball with Jasprit Bumrah in his six international games and no wonder he is excited at an opportunity to pick the brains of India’s pace spearhead during the upcoming series against Sri Lanka.
“I can now share my weaknesses and shortcomings with him. I can learn more by watching him bowl. It will be a good opportunity for me. I am really looking forward to it,” Saini told PTI in an exclusive interview on Friday.
The 27-year-old had a memorable last year when he made impressive debut in white ball cricket as he hopes put in those hard yards to cement his place in a highly competitive bowling attack ahead of the Twenty20 World Cup in October.
“Our bowling attack is the strongest at the moment and that gives me that extra motivation. And that I have to work even harder to secure a regular spot,” he said when asked where does he see himself in the World Cup-bound Australia squad.
Known for his fiery pace, the man from Karnal in Haryana impressed with figures of 3/17 on his international debut in the West Indies tour last year.
In four months’ time, he made ODI debut against the same opponents in Cuttack, when the 27-year-old was drafted in place of an injured injured Deepak Chahar.
“I had prepared well for my debut match and thankfully that yorker came off well. Let’s hope to do well again. I am just keeping my preparation going,” the wiry pacer said about his dream spell of 3-0-10-2 in Cuttack when he cleaned up Roston Chase with a deadly yorker and also accounted for the in-form Shimron Hetmyer.
With Mohammed Shami rested and the likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Deepak Chahar injured, Saini is a part of the squad for the three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka, followed by the three ODIs against Australia.
Saini is aware that it’s very tough to secure a place with so much of competition in the ranks.
“From hereon, every match and series is important for me. If I do well, I can also grow well as a cricketer and the team will also win. I don’t think too far ahead. Always I take one match at a time and think of giving my best every time.
“All my hard work paid off and I had a successful 2019. It’s about putting in that extra mile again so as to secure my place.”
For Saini, the challenge will be to become mentally stronger when the batsmen go on offensive.
“It’s about becoming mentally strong. Everything boils down to the fact that how strong you are mentally. You can put in that hardwork of you are strong mentally.”
Known for his fiery pace with ability to bowl consistently as 140kph, Saini said his success mantra is sheer hardwork and nothing else.
“It’s nothing but sheer hardwork. That’s the only secret. There is no other formula. It’s as simple as that,” he signed off.