'I am glad that my hard work has paid off again'

Pacer Vinay Kumar eager to do well in CT

'I am glad that my hard work has paid off again'

Having missed three international assignments due to injuries in a space of about nine months, R Vinay Kumar, who was picked for the Champions Trophy in England, is keeping his fingers crossed.

The Karnataka skipper had to abort his Asia Cup campaign in Dhaka last year after the match against Sri Lanka due to a hamstring problem. The same injury robbed the paceman of India’s tour of Sri Lanka (five ODIs and one T20) later in July. In December last he was ruled out of England T20s after aggravating his hamstring again.    

“I am very happy to be back in the side,” Vinay told Deccan Herald on Saturday. One of the leading wicket-takers in the ongoing (18 wickets in 11 matches) Indian Premier League, the 29-year-old was rewarded with a place in 15-man squad for June 6-23 tournament.

“I missed quite a few international matches because of frequent injuries. The last ODI I played, against Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup, I took three wickets but then I got injured. I was to tour Sri Lanka for the one-day series but suffered a hamstring injury. I was picked for England T20s but I pulled my hamstring again in Mysore (during Ranji match against Vidarbha).

“I know injuries are part and parcel of a sportsman but frequent injuries were a bit frustrating for me. But there was nothing much I could do. All I could do was work on my fitness and give my best whenever I was fit. I am glad my hard work has paid off again,” he remarked.

While he did have a decent domestic season, it was his prolific show with the ball in IPL that has earned him a place in the Champions Trophy squad. “IPL is a very big platform to prove yourself,” admitted the Royal Challengers Bangalore’s bowler. “Our domestic cricket too is really competitive. You do get some good batsmen who are India players or India material but in IPL you have top Indian players along with top international batsmen.

And to prove your worth against them means something. It’s a test of your character. IPL also is chance to learn from foreign players; their preparation and how they cope with pressure situations,” he offered.

Along with Vinay there are four more pacemen in the squad -- Irfan Pathan, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ishant Sharma. “I know there is no guarantee that I’ll be picked in the 11 (in Champions Trophy) automatically but I can’t be thinking about that. All I can promise is my best whenever I am given a chance.”

Vinay’s batting has seen a big improvement in the last couple of years and his assault on Rajasthan Royals’ pacer James Faulkner whom he hit for three consecutive sixes was a testimony to that. “I’ve worked a lot on my batting,” said Vinay. “In these days, it’s important that you contribute in every department. If I can chip in with some 20-30 runs as a tail-ender, it can make a lot of difference to winning and losing a match.”

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