India’s latest debutant in One-Day Internationals Navdeep Saini has said captain Virat Kohli helped with his nerves ahead of his first appearance in the 50-over format for the men in blue.
Saini, who had played five T20Is for India having made his debut in August, made his ODI debut against West Indies in the final match of the three-match series in Cuttack. He replaced the injured Deepak Chahar in the squad and finished with 2/58 in 10 overs.
“Virat bhai only has one advise: ‘jo cheez tu abhi tak karta aa raha usi cheez ko khulke karna hai, bina dare, bina kuch soche.’(what you’ve been bowling till now, you must do it whole-heartedly, without fear or worrying too much),” Saini told the Hindustan Times in an interview. “I was a bit nervous at the start of my first spell. He told me to just focus on the job. The big crowd in Cuttack is no different from IPL and I should just express myself with ball in hand.”
Saini bowled a brilliant second spell in the series-decider where he dismissed Shimron Hetmyer and Roston Chase, the latter with a sensational yorker. The 27-year-old attributed his ability to hit the right lengths to his first-class experience with Delhi.
The fast bowler, who plays under Kohli’s captaincy in IPL, also said the competition among the Indian fast bowlers is an opportunity for him to get better and praised the management for good communication.
“There is a lot of competition, but I see that as an opportunity. The bowling line-up we have is the best in the world right now. So, we don’t have to look elsewhere for competition,” Saini said.
“I always think about what I can do more to rise to the level of [Jasprit] Bumrah, [Mohammed] Shami or Ishant [Sharma]. The team management also comes into play. There is a process in place. We have been given clear roles and even if I don’t play a few games, that doesn’t mean I’m out of the scheme of things. The communication is really good,” he added.
Saini is also part of the T20I and ODI squads to face Sri Lanka and Australia respectively at the start of the 2020 season.