Navdeep Saini, Indian pacer had nothing but a ‘yes’ on his mind when captain Ajinkya Rahane asked him if he could bowl despite suffering an injury during the second innings of the final and fourth Test against Australia at The Gabba in Brisbane. He picked 4 scalps in 2 Tests averaging 43 with ball bowling 41.5 overs overall.
Navdeep Saini, who had sustained a groin strain, knew he would be risking aggravating his injury if he bowls but decided to carry on to help his team in a crucial game.
Navdeep Saini Agreed To Bowl When Ajinkya Rahane Asked Him
Navdeep Saini had made his Test debut in the previous Test in Sydney and was playing his only second game in the all-important series-deciding Gabba Test between India and Australia.
He could bowl only 7.5 overs in the first innings before suffering a niggle. He had to leave the field and was taken for scans immediately, increasing concerns of an already depleted Indian pace attack spearheaded by two-Tests old Mohammed Siraj.
Navdeep Saini did not return to bowl again in Australia’s first essay but took the field in the hosts’ second innings despite knowing the consequences. Recalling his conversation with captain Ajinkya Rahane ahead of taking the field in the second innings, the pacer said he agreed to his captain’s request no matter what.
“Ajinkya bhaiya asked me If I would be able to bowl with the injury, I just had to say yes,” Saini was quoted as saying by PTI on his return to India with the rest of the Indian side.
In his debut Test, Navdeep Saini picked up four wickets and was expected to continue the good show in Brisbane. However, the injury cut short his Test dream forcing him out of play in the first innings after bowling 7.5 overs.
Navdeep Saini Wished To Keep Going With Injury But Was In Pain
Nonetheless, when his captain Ajinkya Rahane came calling, Navdeep Saini had little doubts over returning to the ground and helping his side attain what turned out to be one of India’s greatest Test wins ever at The Gabba.
“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’,” said Saini.
“I just wished if 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,” he added.
Navdeep Saini bowled five overs with his injury during Australia’s second innings of the fourth Test as the hosts were bundled out for 294, handing India a target of 328 runs in their second innings. Riding on opener Shubman Gill’s 91, Rishabh Pant’s unbeaten 89, and Cheteshwar Pujara’s 56, India pulled off a record run-chase and won the fourth Test by 3 wickets to clinch the Test series 2-1 and retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.