Who is Saurabh Kumar - India's new net bowler for England Test series?

Who is Saurabh Kumar – India’s new net bowler for England Test series?

Apart from giving nightmares to the opposition with the ball, Saurabh is also capable of scoring decent runs while batting in the lower middle-order.

Saurabh Kumar
Saurabh Kumar. (Photo Source: Twitter)

After an exemplary tour of Australia, India is all set to lock horns against England in a four-match home Test series, starting from February 5 at MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. A few days back, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had announced an 18-member squad along with five net bowlers and as many standby players for the first two Tests against England.

One name in the list of five net bowlers that caught the attention of many cricket enthusiasts is the 27-year-old left-arm spinner hailing from Uttar Pradesh, Saurabh Kumar. Saurabh is not a well-known name in the cricket fraternity but he has immense potential to excel on the big stage.

The main reason behind the spinner’s inclusion as a net bowler is his remarkable numbers in the domestic circuit. Saurabh Kumar made his debut for UP in 2015. The leg-spinner has featured in 44 First-class games scalping 192 wickets at an economy of 2.70 and an average of 23.4. He also boasts of having 16 five-wicket hauls and a whopping six ten-wicket hauls.

Saurabh Kumar was picked by RPS in 2017

Apart from the purest format, Saurabh has shown immense potential in the limited-overs format too. Till now he has featured in 26 List A and 28 T20 games picking 38 and 21 wickets respectively at an economy of 4.39 and 7.04 respectively.

The 2018-19 Ranji season was a stand-out year for the spinner as he ended up with 51 wickets in 10 matches, averaging 17.74 including five fifers. In December 2018, he had a massive game against Haryana, picking up 14/65, the second-best match figures by a UP bowler. The 51 wickets were the fifth-best in the season by any bowler.

Apart from giving nightmares to the opposition with the ball, Saurabh is also capable of scoring decent runs while batting in the lower middle-order. He has two first-class hundreds and a batting average of just under 30 for UP. One of the most memorable batting innings for him came in during the 2017-18 Ranji edition when he stitched a 192-run partnership for the eighth wicket with Kuldeep Yadav to save his side some blushes after a top-order slump against Baroda.

The 27-year-old is yet to make his debut in the Indian Premier League (IPL). However, he was picked by Rising Pune Supergiant for an amount of INR 10 lakhs in 2017. Though he didn’t feature in the playing XI of a single game, Saurabh got an opportunity to rub shoulders with legends like MS Dhoni and Steve Smith.