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Comeback man Balaji wants to go out and give his best

Last updated on: September 7, 2012 18:05 IST

Comeback man Balaji wants to go out and give his best

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Amid the hype surrounding Yuvraj Singh's return after conquering cancer, pacer Laxmipathy Balaji will make a quiet comeback to the Indian cricket team, more than three-and-a-half years after his last international outing.

"It's nice to be back. But, at the same time, it's not that I'm going to make my debut. Yes, I didn't play for India for a long time, but cricket always stayed with me," said Balaji, ahead of the first Twenty20 international against New Zealand in Visakhapatnam on Saturday.


Image: Laxmipathy Balaji


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'It's an honour to represent the country'

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The Tamil Nadu-seamer was written off after a career-threatening knee injury.

But a successful stint with this year's IPL champions Kolkata Knight Riders meant that Balaji was drafted into the Twenty20 squad for two matches against New Zealand and ICC World T20 in Sri Lanka.

"Be it at first-class or club level, I play with my heart and soul. That's my passion and the reason why I've been able to make a comeback. I really thank God for giving me the break," Balaji, who will turn 31 this month, said.

"It's an honour to represent the country. We hope to do our best and get back the Cup for India."


Image: Laxmipathy Balaji


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'IPL gave me the platform'

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Balaji said he benefited a lot after spending time with Knight Riders' bowling coach Wasim Akram.

"Wasimbhai has been a big asset during the IPL. Everybody knows what he is capable of. Spending the last two years with him really helped a lot.

"IPL gave me the platform -- it's similar to that of an international format. It actually helps when you do well in IPL," he added.

Balaji, who took 10 wickets in eight games for KKR, said he is confident of a good comeback.

"I did play Buchi Babu recently. I have been training well. I've done a lot of hard work on my fitness. I'm bowling regularly. Just looking forward to go out there and give my best," he said.

Playing in the World Cup is an honour and Balaji wants to make it count.

"It's an honour to wear the India colours in the World Cup. It's a big tournament and we have done well in the past there. It's great to be part of the side. Hope to give my best and bring back the Cup for India."


Image: Laxmipathy Balaji


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'It's wonderful to see Bhajji & Yuvi back'

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He said the return of Yuvraj, who successfully battled a rare germ cell cancer, will inspire the Indians.

"Everybody knows how tough it is to undergo the (chemotherapy) treatment. Not only health, there are so many things. But he has come back harder after a one-and-half-year battle with cancer."

He is also looking forward to playing with star off-spinner Harbhajan Singh again.

"He is one of the greatest Indian spinners. It's wonderful to see him back. It gives me an opportunity to play with him again," he said.


Image: Yuvraj Singh


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Kohli shaping well for the future

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After the retirement of Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, the young Indian players are doing well, with Virat Kohli performing exceptionally well.

"Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman were two of the greatest Indian batsmen in history. A big salute for the service they have given to Indian cricket. They have inspired many youngsters, giving India so many wonderful moments. They played with so much of dignity.

"It's a process that will take some time. It's not easy to refill the gap overnight. Definitely they will remain an inspiration. But Virat Kohli is doing a very fine job. He is exceptional. Hope he continues to do well for India," he concluded.


Image: Virat Kohli


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