Navdeep Saini has signed a contract with Kent to become the English county’s newest Indian player. Saini currently plays for Delhi in India’s domestic circuit and was a member of the Rajasthan Royals squad in the Indian Premier League (IPL). He last appeared for India in a T20I against Sri Lanka in July 2021 in Colombo.
Subject to visa approval, Saini will play three County Championship games and five Royal London Cup matches. After Washington Sundar for Lancashire, Cheteshwar Pujara for Sussex, Krunal Pandya for Warwickshire, and Umesh Yadav for Middlesex, Saini is the fifth Indian player to sign a county contract.
Saini will be joined on the field by New Zealand fast bowler Matt Henry, who will return to the team for a second stint after 2018. South African all-rounder George Linde is also in the squad, but only two foreign players are eligible to play.
Kent has struggled to take wickets this season due to injury concerns and unfriendly pitches. Their loss to Northamptonshire earlier this week has dropped them to eighth place in the 10-team Division One table, with only five games remaining.
Saini has represented India in two Tests, eight One-Day Internationals, and eleven Twenty20 Internationals. He has played 53 first-class matches in total, taking 148 wickets in 91 innings at an average of 28.81, with four five-wicket hauls and the best bowling figures of 6/32. Last month, the 29-year-old took three wickets for 55 runs in an India warmup game against Leicestershire.