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‘My dream has now been fulfilled’ – Navdeep Saini gears up for New Zealand Tests

It will not be easy for Saini to break into the playing XI since the Indian pace battery has some weighty names at the moment in the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav.

Navdeep Saini
Navdeep Saini of India. (Photo by RANDY BROOKS/AFP/Getty Images)

Paceman Navdeep Saini has come up the steps towards a promising international career well and now, the Delhi bowler is looking forward to making it to the red-ball format as well. The bowler has been picked for the Indian Test side for the upcoming two-match series in New Zealand and he is relishing every minute following his maiden call-up in the traditional variant. The 27-year-old has featured in five ODIs and 10 T20Is so far to pick 18 wickets.

It will not be easy for Saini to break into the playing XI since the Indian pace battery has some weighty names at the moment in the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav. Bumrah is, however, not in a great form at the moment while Ishant has just returned from an injury and that could leave Saini with an outside chance.

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“I am happy with whatever level I have been able to reach. It’s everyone’s dream to reach this level. It was my dream as well, which has now been fulfilled. I want to carry this further,” Saini told Shami in a video posted on BCCI.TV.

It’s a life-changing moment for Navdeep Saini

“When I was selected for the Indian team, it was like a dream come true for me. I started playing at a local level, and then I moved on to Ranji. From there, to become a part of Indian national team, it was a life-changing moment for me.”

Saini has picked 125 wickets in 45 first-class games, 80 in 52 List-A games and 43 in 45 T20 matches. He has also impressed in the Indian Premier League and eventually made his Indian debut in a T20I in the West Indies in August last year. Revealing the charitable soul in him, Saini said he helps budding cricketers within his capacities like donating kids cricketing gear, spikes and financial aid. “I have seen how important all of these things are for a young cricketer,” he added.

In the two preceding limited-overs series in New Zealand, Saini played in two T20Is and as many ODIs. He picked 2 for 23 in the fifth and final T20I in Mount Maunganui which India won to sweep the hosts 5-0 but went wicketless in the last two ODIs to see his team lose 0-3.

Saini, however, gave a glimpse of his batting abilities in the second ODI in Auckland by belting 45 in 49 balls at No.9 to take India close to a much-needed victory. He also featured in the three-day practice game against New Zealand XI in Hamilton in which he took 2 for 58 in 15 overs. The first Test against New Zealand begins in Wellington on February 21.

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