Kolkata: A day after he was named a stand-by for the World Cup, former India pacer Ashish Nehra heaped praise on Navdeep Saini, saying the Royal Challengers Bangalore pacer has got all the ingredients to be a good bowler as he has the confidence to excel.
Uncapped paceman Saini was named stand-by for India’s World Cup campaign along with Ambati Rayudu, Ishant Sharma, Axar Patel and Rishabh Pant.
Saini will also travel to England with the main squad as he is also part of the quartet of net bowlers that has been approved. Along with Saini, Deepak Chahar, Khaleel Ahmed and Avesh Khan would be part of the Indian entourage.
“He has got all the ingredients to be a good bowler. He’s got pace and bounce and the most important thing is he’s confident right now especially in this format because it’s really quick,” RCB bowling coach Nehra told reporters on the eve of their IPL match against Kolkata Knight Riders.
The Virat Kohli-led franchise picked Saini in the 2018 auction for Rs 3 crore, but the 26-year-old spent most of his time on the bench. Nehra said there were many doubters when they signed him.
“He didn’t play last year. So many guys came up to me and said he plays tournament games for the ONGC and has gone for plenty. So many people were actually doubting and said you bought him for Rs 3 crore and even in club games he hasn’t done well with the white ball,” Nehra said.
“Look where he’s today. He is the first stand-by so if any fast bowler gets injured he will be the one playing the World Cup.
“Within two games his confidence is high when nobody thought he will do well. That’s the beauty of IPL.”
In seven games so far, Saini has picked up four wickets with best figures of 2/24 against Delhi Capitals. The talking point has been his raw pace which has hit the 150 kph mark.
Besides Yuzvendra Chahal, none of the RCB bowlers have done well as the team is sitting at the bottom of the points table, virtually out of reckoning for a playoff berth.
Nehra, though, sounded confident of turning things around.
“We are always hopeful. We have seen teams qualifying, winning last six games and with 14 points, teams have qualified. We need to take one game at a time. We lost couple of really close games. It’s all about winning those moments which we could not do. If we could have played good percentage cricket, we could have had 6-8 points if not more,” Nehra opined.
Nehra also backed his under-fire bowlers Mohammed Siraj and Umesh Yadav saying skill-wise their India pace battery is one of the best.
“Skill-wise I don’t think there’s any other team who have got three good fast bowlers in one team. The next name that comes to my mind is Sunrisers. Every other team has one or two good fast bowlers but not three Indian pacers who can bowl at 140 kph. Yes, they have not bowled the way they would have liked to bowl at the death or up front. But they can do better than this,” the 39-year old said.
South Africa veteran pacer Dale Steyn joined the RCB after Nathan Coulter-Nile got injured. Nehra hinted that the 36-year-old might start.
“That’s why he is here. We all know what Dale Steyn can do. He is a very experienced campaigner. We have all seen him doing so well not only in Test cricket, but for other franchises also,” he said.