I tried not to think about the platform. Had I done so, it would have been very difficult for me to keep myself motivated. That helped me stay hungry. These days international sport has become very physical as well. The current generation is far fitter than what we used to be. Fitness mantras are going to evolve. It’s up to the individual to push himself. Diet is something that you get aware of. It is important to eat healthy and eat varied things.
It has to do with the mental set-up. It depends how much you are at peace with yourself and having a blank mind. When you are not in control about your game then a lot of thoughts go through your mind. Once you are confident, it is about expanding your game. The most important thing is if I have the same energy as these guys then I deserve to be a part of this bunch. It’s not about the age but whether I can compete with them.
The team between 2007 to 2011 shared a wavelength. Now, Virat is building his own team with his brand of cricketers and there is Kumble who captained as you as well…
There’s no doubt that the role has changed for me but the goal is exactly the same which is to win each game. This team has a lot of energy which comes from passion. I would love to match their energy levels and also share my experience as well. If the common aim is to win, then these things get sorted by themselves. Kumble was a good captain and the kind of man-manager he is, he welcomed me in this set-up as well. With Virat leading the team, it’s very good to be around people who are very passionate.
Having a daughter has helped me a lot. She keeps me happy. Watching her, I realize cricket is not about life and death. I used to be very hard on myself. I now know that cricket is just a part of my life, a profession which has to end one day and that has given me a lot of peace. That’s why I want to enjoy moment at the present. I don’t know what’s going to happen 15 days down the line. At the moment, I have to fly down to Kolkata and play a Ranji Trophy match against Karnataka. I try to stay in my today and see what can happen tomorrow.
I realized it was going to be tough when I went in to the IPL and suddenly I found myself getting late on deliveries. You don’t get such pace and quality at the domestic level. You can’t do much about. I just tried to train my mind accordingly. I did play a lot of bowling machine and practiced in shorter pitches but it is still not like a proper international bowler.
I tried to simplify my game. It is important when you are under pressure against quality attacks. It doesn’t matter how you stand. It’s about what kind of position you are in while you receive the ball. It is not a practice game. It is a first-class game against a strong side like Karnataka. We haven’t won a Ranji Trophy for a long time. I want to contribute in whatever way to make that happen. It is a good experience for that young team to be on the field for 200 overs. They will value scoring big runs.