Longer format suits Navdeep Saini the best, feels Zaheer Khan
The Indian pace bowling department has seen immense growth in the last couple of years. The pace bowling department led by Jasprit Bumrah has wreaked havoc wherever it has played since 2018 and courtesy of some dominating performances, the Indian bowling line-up is now considered as one of the best in the world. The competition for a place in that bowling attack is fierce. While the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma have become regular faces in the side, the likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav have also played a major role in the growth of India’s pace battery.
Not only that, there have been some young bowlers who have played a part in recent times. The likes of Khaleel Ahmed, Navdeep Saini, Deepak Chahar have played their roles in the team and have impressed in whatever opportunities they have got thus far. Meanwhile, Saini has been an impressive prospect given his raw pace. The youngster has played in limited-overs format but is yet to get his opportunity in the longest format of the game.
Former Indian bowler and a legend of the game, Zaheer Khan reckons Saini will be best suited to red-ball cricket given his pace and consistent line and length while adding he would love to see Umesh come back into the Test playing XI.
“I would love to see Umesh come back, I would like to see Saini (centre) get a chance in the longer format as that's the format that suits him. Saini has got the pace and consistency in length," Zaheer said.
“I have always said that if he had that outswinger for the right-handers, he will be a nightmare for the batting sides. I am glad that it has happened now. He needs to work on his fitness and keep doing the things that have brought him this far. With experience he will keep getting better and better,” the 40-year-old added.
While Saini was not picked for the Indian Test side for the three-match Test series against South Africa, Umesh is expected to be in the playing XI after replacing an injured Jasprit Bumrah in the squad.
The first Test between India and South Africa is scheduled to be played from October 2 at the Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium in Visakhapatnam.