INDvSA Series : The 33-year-old, who has made a strong comeback post injury with two successive hundreds against Sri Lanka, is all set for the South African tour.
In interview of TOI :
You were not part of the playing XI in the Kolkata Test against Sri Lanka and then you got two consecutive hundreds. How difficult was it to be out with injury, not find a place in the XI and then grabbing the chance?
I’m focused about my game and how I’m going to make an impact to the team’s cause. Those thoughts were challenging me more than sitting out. I knew my turn would come and I have to be ready for that. I was confident after the layoff. I was working hard on the mental aspect of my game. There were a few hiccups initially, then I got back to form playing a couple of Ranji Trophy games and that made a huge difference. I got into match mode and from there on it was all about the mental strength. I made sure I was in good frame of mind.
All three openers are in good form. How do you see the trio combine in the Test scheme of things?
I’m in that phase of my career where I want to spread good energy in the dressing-room and be positive. With these two around, it’s easier. We are all like-minded people. We are open to conversations. We share great rapport. Our communication skills are good. Whatever the issues are, it’s put in the open. When the heart is clear, your mind is clear. It’s easy to move forward. I hope we forge a good combination in the upcoming Tests.
You have been India’s Mr dependable in overseas conditions ever since the 2013 South Africa series. How do you see the pressure factor weighing on your shoulders?
That’s what I wanted to be. I wanted to be a dependable player for my country. Such a situation is not pressure but pleasure for me. It’s a great opportunity for me to go out there and represent billions. I have my process in place. I can control the innings and I can play my shots after settling down. I’m confident of delivering.
During the Sri Lanka series there was a lot of talk about preparing for SA tour on lively pitches. India don’t play a practice match as well. How do you see the situation?
Some people need 1000 balls to get set, some people don’t even need to bat in the nets but are ready. It’s very difficult to explain the term preparation. It depends on the individuals on how they are going to go about tackling the challenges. I have isolated myself and I’m doing my own practice now. I have the process in place and let’s see how it works. Via