Bengaluru, March 27: In the last 18 months or so Navdeep Saini has come a long way from being a tennis ball bowler to being the Ranji Trophy player for Delhi, net bowler for India team, a place in the Indian Test squad against Afghanistan and being drafted into the RCB squad for IPL 2019.
Saini spoke about the mood in the camp after the drubbing at the hands of Chennai Super Kings at Chennai, a wold tattoo on his hand among other things ahead the match against Mumbai Indians here on Thursday (March 28).
On the mood in the camp: Everything is good. We performed well in the Chennai game. The result does not matter. What matters is how you've performed. If you've done well, you get a lot of confidence. We took the game till the 18th over. So, we got confidence from that.
On the influence of Ashish Nehra: If you see if someone has most amount of knowledge about T20s, it's Ashu bhaiya. When I bowl in the nets, I get to learn a lot from that. He tells me how to plan against different batsmen. If any player wants to go to next level, the intensity of the preparations needs to increase as well. If I have to play for India, I have to practice with that intensity. In the last two years, I've worked on that.
On the confidence from domestic season: If you see, we have international players playing in domestic cricket as well. If we do well in domestic cricket, then our confidence goes up to 110 percent. In the IPL, we play with top cricketers in the world and so that helps the confidence as well.
On learning from India nets: There's a lot of difference. The main thing is, when you are bowling in the India nets, you can't afford to relax. You have to give 110 per cent. You can't compromise on anything in any department. The mindset also changes because that level is totally different.
On tennis ball cricket days: All the help I've got in my bowling is all because of tennis ball cricket. If you want to bowl full with tennis ball, it's crucial you are fast. Since I bowled a lot with the tennis ball, it helped me build strength. Because of that, my arm speed increased as well.
IPL a life-changer: My life has turned around completely. When we are playing cricket at a certain level, the mindset and the personal life also changes. I've performed well but if I do well in my practice sessions as well, if we prepare like we are playing in a match, that helps. And that has helped in my consistency as well.
On the wolf Tattoo: My brother and I used to watch a lot of wolf movies when we were kids. We've watched it all. I used to love it. If you see, a wolf never performs in a circus. He roams around out there in the jungle. That's why I got this.
On confidence after first match: I feel extremely confident. It was my debut, I was nervous but if you captain has equal belief in you, it helps. He keeps telling me: show the same intensity of a match at the nets also. In the nets if you're conditioned to give 110%, you will be at 95% level in the match, because there's added pressure. Bowling to top batsmen like Kohli and De Villiers gives me a lot of confidence, helps me prepare better for matches.
On the influence of Gambhir: Gautam bhaiyya has had the biggest role in my life so far. He was the one who gave me an opportunity when I didn't have much idea about cricket, didn't have shoes also. He showed a lot of confidence in me. During the 2013-14 season, 10-12 days prior to the season, I'd gone to see Delhi's net session. Till then, I hadn't seen any of the India players. So I just went to see how Kohli, Sehwag, Gambhir, Nehra and all these stars are in real life. At that time, I got a chance to bowl in the nets.