English County side Kent on Friday announced that they have signed up India fast bowler Navdeep Saini for up to three matches in County Championship and five Royal London Cup matches, subject to visa and regulatory approval.
Saini, 29, has represented India in two Tests, eight ODIs and 11 T20Is, picking two, six and 13 wickets respectively. He was last seen in the Indian jersey during their white-ball tour of Sri Lanka last year. Saini plays for Delhi in domestic cricket and represented Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2022.
Saini also becomes the fifth Indian player to sign up for the English domestic cricket season in 2022 after Cheteshwar Pujara (Sussex), Washington Sundar (Lancashire), Krunal Pandya (Warwickshire) and Umesh Yadav (Middlesex).
Kent also said that Saini, the right-arm pacer, will wear his preferred shirt number of 96 and will follow in the footsteps of Rahul Dravid to become the second Indian Test cricketer to play for the county. “It’s a great opportunity to play county cricket and I’m looking forward to giving my all for Kent,” said Saini.
“In a year when it’s been difficult to take wickets, we’re excited to have the opportunity to add a fast bowler of Navdeep’s quality to our squad,” said Paul Downton, Kent’s Director of Cricket.
Saini played in the four-day first-class warm-up match against Leicestershire in June, picking 3-55 in India’s second innings. But he was not involved in the rescheduled fifth Test against England at Edgbaston.
Kent had lost by 203 runs to Northamptonshire earlier this week at Canterbury and are currently at eighth place in the 10-team Division One table with five matches left in the ongoing season.