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Saini bowled despite injury in the second innings at Brisbane

Navdeep Saini

Bengaluru, January 23: A groin strain prevented India pacer Navdeep Saini from giving his best in the Brisbane Test but fearing that he may not get such a big a stage again, he listened to the call of his captain and ended up bowling five overs despite injury in the second innings.

The 28-year-old, who made his debut in the third Test at Sydney, after years of wait, said he risked aggravating his injury by bowling in the second innings at Brisbane, but given what was at stake, "it was a no brainer".

"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 news agency.

Saini under medical observation after complaining of groin pain

Having taken four wickets in his debut at Sydney, Saini suffered a groin strain in Australia's first innings and could bowl only 7.5 overs at the Gabba, increasing concerns for an already injury-hit India, who were forced to go into the game with a bowling attack which had the combined experience of four games.

For someone who made a massive leap of playing Ranji Trophy for Delhi in 2013 straight from making a quick buck in tennis ball cricket across Haryana, Saini wondered about the timing of his injury as he had just realised his dream of playing Tests.

But the like of the rest of his team-mates, he showed a steely resolve and carried on. "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'.

"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.

"I'm recovering now and should be fit soon," said the lanky fast bowler from Karnal, who was fastracked into first-class cricket by former India opener Gautam Gambhir.

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Story first published: Saturday, January 23, 2021, 13:18 [IST]
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