Having spent three years in the wilderness following a back injury,Indian pacer Lakshmipathy Balaji is looking forward to the Test series against New Zealand but the right-arm pacer doesn’t know if he would get to play in the first cricket match starting here on Wednesday.
Balaji said he was not being unduly anxious about it and was rather preparing to give his best whenever he gets an opportunity to prove his worth.
“There has been no indication that I would play but there is still one more day to go. I am just very relaxed and am looking forward to whatever chance I get,” said the pacer with an illuminating smile.
“I haven’t set any expectations. I am just enjoying my bowling so far,given whatever I have come through in the last two years. As long as I enjoy myself,I know I will do well. I am looking forward to the matches and will give my hundred per cent every time I play for India,” he said.
Looking back,Balaji said he toiled a lot to get back to international cricket and was enjoying being back in the Indian dressing room.
“I have worked very hard in the last two years and it has been a pretty long journey. But every cricketer undergoes these kind of circumstances in his career. It is part and parcel of every sport. You have to accept it and push forward.
“I am looking forward to the big series. It is good to be coming back to the side and I am enjoying the team atmosphere,” said Balaji,who last played in a Test match against Pakistan in 2005.
The 27-year-old pacer said the practice matches arranged by the Indian and New Zealand cricket boards had been good for him and his fellow Test players.
“It was a very good experience and exposure to get to know about the conditions and the pitches. I think it was a very good move from the Board that (VVS) Laxman,Rahul (Dravid) and everyone got a little bit of match practice before the game. It helped a lot. We were able to understand the conditions a little bit,” he said.
Talking about the tracks,Balaji felt there was a vast difference between the wickets in Asia and New Zealand.
“In Asian wickets,you have got to hit the deck hard because the ball doesn’t come on to the bat. The length is a little bit shorter in India. But here,the ball does a little bit if you bowl up.
“Even in the last one-day match in Auckland,the bowlers were getting a little bit of movement of the wicket when they were bowling up. It is very important to adjust the length here,bowl a bit fuller,not over-pitched but a length where the batsman will be in two minds,” Balaji explained.
He said he was prepared to bowl on any wicket. “I have not seen the wicket here. A bowler will look to bowl,whatever be the conditions. I am definitely looking forward play matches and bowling a lot.”
Despite India’s domination in the ODI series,Balaji rated the Kiwis as a competitive side.
“They have been a very good side. They have beaten Australia and a couple of other big sides in the last couple of years. They have been a very good all-round side. It is definitely a challenge to go up against them. We know that they are good in their home conditions. We will look to give them a good fight,” he said.