Visakhapatnam: Amid the hype surrounding Yuvraj Singh’s return after conquering cancer, pacer Laxmipathy Balaji would 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,” Balaji said today ahead of the first Twenty20 international against New Zealand here tomorrow.
The Tamil Nadu-seamer was written off after a career-threatening knee injury. But a successful stint with this year’s IPL victors Kolkata Knight Riders meant that Balaji was not done yet as he was drafted into the Twenty20 squad for two matches against New Zealand and the 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.”
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 last two years with him really helped a lot,” he said.
“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.