Navdeep Saini received his maiden India cap from the young Jasprit Bumrah in earlier to the 3rd Test vs Australia.
Usually, a senior member of the team or a support staff hands maiden Test caps to debutants but Team India tasked another young bowler who is only 16 Tests old to do the honors at the SCG on Thursday.
Notably, in Australia, former greats are invited to hand over Test caps to debutants and it was the assistant coach and former player Andrew McDonald who did the honours for debutant opener Will Pucovski on Thursday.
Bumrah Hands in the cap for Navdeep Saini
Jasprit Bumrah is being seen as the leader of this Indian bowling attack under Ajinkya Rahane’s captaincy. With Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, and Umesh Yadav missing out due to injuries, Bumrah has been tasked with the responsibility of leading the pace attack.
It was a heartwarming moment as Bumrah came up with a short and sweet message for Saini before handing him the 299th India Test cap.
“He has done a lot of hard work. He has come up the hard way. Well deserved and go well,” Bumrah can be heard telling Saini during the team huddle in Sydney. The young debutant was cheered on and applauded by the rest of the team, including head coach Ravi Shastri who gave a pat on Saini’s back after he received the Test cap.
Congratulations @navdeepsaini96. He realises his dream of playing Test cricket for #TeamIndia today. A proud holder of 🧢 299 and he receives it from @Jaspritbumrah93. #AUSvIND pic.twitter.com/zxa5LGJEen
— BCCI (@BCCI) January 6, 2021
Saini came into the reckoning for the 3rd Test after impressing at the nets. The fast bowler had an ordinary ODI series and even had a back niggle but Umesh Yadav’s injury in the 2nd Test meant there was a spot in the bowling unit and Saini has made the most of the opportunity that was up for grabs.
Notably, Saini made his limited-overs debut in August 2019 and had to wait for more than a year for his Test cap. The Haryana-born pacer has put in the hard yards after making his first-class debut as early as 2013. Saini has played 46 first-class matches and picked up 128 wickets.
28-year-old Saini has often credited former India opener Gautam Gambhir for his rise in competitive cricket. It reportedly was Gambhir who saw Saini bowl at the nets and spoke to the Delhi Districts Cricket Association for giving the Haryana pacer a spot in the Delhi domestic teams.