Navdeep Saini: India call up Worcestershire fast bowler after signing short-term deal with Pears

Navdeep Saini in action for India
Navdeep Saini had a spell playing in the County Championship with Kent in 2022

Worcestershire have had fast bower Navdeep Saini called up for international duty by India, just hours after signing for the Pears on a short-term four-game red-ball contract.

Saini, 30, was due to be available for the Pears’ four County Championship games until the end of July, starting with Sunday’s game against Derbyshire.

He has arrived in Worcester and is scheduled to play on Sunday.

But he will then have to depart to the Caribbean for a short India tour.

Saini, who has featured for India in all three formats, last featured for his country in a T20 international in July 2021.

But he has now been chosen for a month-long series with West Indies, from 12 July to 13 August which constitutes two Tests, three one-day internationals and five T20s.

It seems certain that Saini, who had a stint playing for Kent last season, will now have to miss three of the four Worcestershire matches he was contracted for.

Worcestershire are currently fourth in Division Two of the County Championship after seven games, eight points behind second-placed Sussex.

This weekend’s round of matches will be the first of two successive experimental rounds to be played with a Kookaburra, rather than a Dukes ball.

The Pears’ already injury-hit bowling attack has been further depleted by the loss of lost Josh Tongue to England duty.

Charlie Morris was forced to retire from cricket with a knee injury in May, while the club added that there are “recent injury concerns surrounding” both Dillon Pennington and Adam Finch.

“With Charlie’s departure, Josh’s involvement with England, and a few injury setbacks, we are entering a crucial phase of the Championship season,” said Paul Pridgeon, chair of the Worcestershire cricket steering group. “We felt it was crucial to strengthen our bowling department.

“We are in contention at the upper end of the table. Therefore, it was important to have the right numbers and quality.”

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