He had a good chance to be picked for the ICC Champions Trophy, but when the India selectors chose the squad on Saturday, they left Kings XI Punjab’s medium pacer Praveen Kumar out.
The 26-year-old cricketer from Meerut, however, has no regrets and wants to only look at the positive side.
"It feels bad when one doesn’t get a place in the team, but I have no regrets since I tried my level best. It’s the selectors’ job to pick the best team and they have performed their duty well,” he told MAIL TODAY on the eve of their Pepsi IPL match against Royal Challengers Bangalore in Mohali.
"My job is to keep performing consistently. Inclusion and exclusion from the team is a part of the game and I am sure if I keep playing well, the opportunity will come again,” he said.
The Sandeep Patil-led selection panel picked medium pacers Vinay Kumar, Irfan Pathan and Umesh Yadav for the tournament in England starting June 6.
Praveen has gone through some contrasting phases in his life in the last few months. He was suspended from the Vijay Hazare Trophy in February after the BCCI found him guilty of abusing a rival player in a Corporate Trophy match in Raipur.
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The incident tarnished his image and he was in desperate need to improve it. He got an ideal platform in IPL and proved his worth by taking 10 wickets in as many matches so far this season, the second highest for his team, but that was not enough for him to seal a spot in the national squad.
"The challenge doesn’t end here and there are a lot of stages to perform on. Kings XI Punjab are lagging behind in the IPL but we still have matches to win and stay in the title race,” said Praveen.
However, Punjab face a tough task and the match against Bangalore on Monday is a must-win for them, failing which they will no breathing space going into their last five league encounters.
They will have to tame the formidable batting line-up of the visitors, which includes heavyweights like Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli and A. B. de Villiers.
Praveen considers Bangalore a strong side but is not intimidated by the presence of stalwarts.
"They are a good batting side. But if we think too much about their powers, then nerves will get the better of us. A bowler just needs one good delivery to get a batsman out and my aim will be to maintain accuracy,” said Praveen. "Also, Twenty20 is an exciting format where you see the most number of upsets and turnarounds, so I am not ruling out my team’s chances,” he added.
Kings XI have lost their last three matches and have registered just four wins in 10 attempts. What they have lacked is a combined effort by bowlers and batsmen. But Praveen said with Australian Shaun Marsh coming back into the team and David Miller in good form, the batting has got better.
"Marsh’s return has boosted our morale and Miller’s good form is an added advantage. We won most of our matches because of the bowlers. I hope our batsmen and bowlers click simultaneously against Bangalore,” said Praveen.