Navdeep Saini
West Indies' Shimron Hetmyer, left, reacts as he is bowled by India's Navdeep Saini, right, during the first Twenty20 international cricket match, on August 3, 2019, in Lauderhill, Florida. Image Credit: AP

Lauderhill (Florida): Right-arm India pacer Navdeep Saini has impressed everyone after picking three wickets for just 17 runs in his debut T20I match against West Indies as the Men In Blue emerged victorious by four wickets in the first contest of the three match rubber.

India skipper Virat Kohli was all praise for Saini and felt the 26-year-old is hungry to prove himself.

Speaking at the post-match presentation on Saturday, Kohli lauded Saini’s effort and said: “The bowlers were on top throughout. He (Saini) is from Delhi. He is a raw talent, has raw pace. He is one of them who can bowl 150 clicks and there are hardly any who bowl at that pace and he is fit.”

“He is someone who can build a name for himself and he is hungry as well. Hopefully he builds on from here,” added the India skipper.

Batting first, West Indies could only manage to post 95/9 in their 20 overs before India also made a heavy weather of the small target and Kohli looked unhappy with the wicket conditions here.

“The pitch wasn’t great to be honest, but they couldn’t have done much with all the rain around and the covers being on for three odd days. They did a good job to get the game started,” he expressed.

“We would have liked to chase this four down maximum, that’s how this pitch was. It was tough to get your shots away with the old ball. We just want to contribute as a team in the second game,” Kohli concluded.

Former India opener Gautam Gambhir slammed Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA) members Bishen Singh Bedi and Chetan Chauhan for objecting his call to bring in Saini in the Delhi Ranji team.

Bedi and Chauhan were reportedly part of the faction of DDCA members who had not approved Gambhir’s choice to include Saini in the Delhi team. However, Gambhir continued to put his weight behind Saini and the right-arm pacer too, didn’t disappoint as he had a decent show at the domestic circuit before making his India debut.

“Kudos Navdeep Saini on ur India debut. U already have 2 wkts even before u have bowled - @BishanBedi & @ChetanChauhanCr. Their middle stumps are gone seeing debut of a player whose cricketing obituary they wrote even before he stepped on the field, shame!!! (sic.)” Gambhir tweeted on Saturday.