Saini is seen as the next big fast bowling hope to emerge from India, his pace and control turning quite a few heads in white and red-ball matches.
Playing his first match in India colours, Saini got to bowl on a damp pitch in Lauderhill and made an immediate impact, getting left-handed batsmen Nicholas Pooran and Shimron Hetmyer off successive deliveries in his first over.
Then in his return spell, he dismissed top-scorer Kieron Pollard lbw with a full-toss. Saini finished with 3-17 from his four overs and even finished the innings with a wicket-maiden.
It was a memorable debut for Saini. He didn’t let the occasion get the better of him as he got his radar right before trying too many things. That allowed him to come back after getting hit for a six with his second ball by Pooran.
One ball later, Saini shortened his length and saw Pooran mistime his pull high that was taken by the keeper. Next ball, danger-man Shimron Hetmyer tried to guide a short of length ball and only managed to chop it on. Both dangerous southpaws were sent back within two balls and the match was in India’s bag.
The control that Saini showed in his first spell was commendable, especially because he is known to be express quick. It would have been easy for him to try to blast the opposition batsmen away with the quick stuff but credit to him for gauging the conditions and not straying in line or length early on.
In his second spell, Saini tried a bit too hard to bowl the yorker and they ended up being thigh-high full tosses, with Pollard depositing one for a six. However, he did nudge the 90mph mark. Saini got Pollard out lbw with a full toss, but that was a bit fortunate.
It was a solid start to international cricket for Saini and he ticked most of the boxes. Once he settles down, Saini will be able to operate at top speed while maintaining his lines. Will see a lot more of him.
The 30-year-old admitted that the first few days after the defeat against New Zealand were hard but the players have now accepted that it’s time to move on as they take on West Indies in a three-match T20 series in the United States.
“Well look, obviously the first few days after we exited the World Cup were quite difficult. By the time the tournament got over, I think every time we woke up it was the worst feeling in the morning and through the day you do things and you know sort of get on with your life,” he said.
“But now look, we’re professionals, we move ahead, every team has to move on so we’re quite ok with what happened in the World Cup. Yesterday the fielding session and a little bit of time we spent on the field was really good, everyone was excited, looking forward to just playing, just being on the field again.
“I think that’s the best thing you can do as a team, just get on the park as soon as possible. Everyone’s looking forward to these games which I think is the most important thing. It will just give us an opportunity to have some fun together, understand why we’ve been so successful as a team and really focus on the things that matter, rather than focusing on the things that are not in our control.”
Watch Kohli’s thoughts in the video above.
India Test batsman Prithvi Shaw has been suspended until November 15 for a doping violation.
The 19-year-old, who played two Tests for India in October – scoring a century and a half-century – was charged on July 16 after a sample provided back in February showed use of a prohibited substance.
Shaw was found to have Terbutaline in his system, with the Board of Control for cricket in India (BCCI) accepting his explanation that he had ingested it inadvertently via an over the counter cough syrup.
“On 16th July 2019, Mr. Shaw was charged with the commission of an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) under the BCCI Anti-Doping Rules (ADR) Article 2.1 and provisionally suspended pending determination of the charge,” a statement on the BCCI website read.
“The BCCI is satisfied with Mr. Shaw’s explanation that he had taken Terbutaline inadvertently to treat an Respiratory Tract Infection and not as a performance-enhancing drug. Terbutaline, a specified substance, is prohibited both In & Out of Competition in the WADA Prohibited List of Substances.
“Having considered all of the evidence and taken expert external advice, the BCCI has accepted Mr. Shaw’s explanation of the cause of his ADRV, and on that basis has agreed that a period of ineligibility of eight months should apply, together with disqualification of certain results.”
The ban has been back-dated to the date when the failed sample was collected and, after being adjusted according to BCCI regulations, Shaw’s suspension will run from March 16 to November 15.
Shaw’s sample was taken on February 22 and was then charged by the BCCI on July 16. He, however, played during the Indian Premier League for Delhi Capitals in May. Shaw has not played for India since his last Test against the West Indies in October.