Praveen ready to turn a new leaf

Few would disagree that Praveen Kumar was the one who brought back the venomous effect of swing bowling back in the Indian bowling sphere. His stint with the Indian team has, however, been interspersed with injuries.

That hasn’t affected his morale, stresses Praveen. “I won’t say that I have been unlucky with injuries. Only the elbow injury had bothered me for a while. Although I have missed a lot of big tournaments like the World Cup because of injuries, I don’t have any regrets,” Praveen told Mail Today on Monday.

Although the 26- year- old paceman has lately been in the news for all the wrong reasons, he’s ready to move on and give his best in the upcoming Indian Premier League. He also said that the Syed Mushtaq Ali Twenty20 Trophy is a perfect launch pad for the IPL.

“For the moment, I am looking forward to the IPL and am working hard to ensure Kings XI Punjab do well in the tournament. I am presently playing in the Mushtaq Ali Trophy and am bowling in the right areas. It is definitely a good preparation ahead of the IPL,” he said.

On Kings XI Punjab’s prospects, Praveen said that he was looking forward to work under new coach Darren Lehmann, who was the coach of the erstwhile Deccan Chargers. He also said that although momentum is key in a competition like IPL, they have to take one match at a time.

“I have heard a lot of positive things about Darren Lehmann from the Hyderabad players and am excited to play under him. We did well last year and narrowly missed a playoff berth. In the IPL, we have to take one match at a time,” he said.

The Deodhar Trophy in Guwahati saw a plethora of former India players like Gautam Gambhir, Munaf Patel and Dinesh Karthik taking part in the limited overs tournament. And Praveen did his reputation no harm by bagging the wicket of Gambhir and bowling a miserly spell, which included two wickets at the expense of 28 runs in seven overs.

Praveen is, however, not overtly worried at his lengthy absence from the international scene, “My job is to perform and I know I will be rewarded if I keep performing well at the domestic level. Personally, I have always enjoyed playing at every level, be it domestic, international or Twenty 20,” he said.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s success has once again highlighted the importance of swing bowling in modern cricket. Despite the aura and machismo associated with raw pace, Bhuvneshwar’s success has come as a breath of fresh air and Praveen is proud of his statemate’s success.

“Bhuvi is like my younger brother and I am proud of his achievements. He has done extremely well and hope that he continues in the same vein. His success augurs well for the state’s prospects in cricket. I would also love to bowl in tandem with him for India in future,” he said.

Praveen is also determined to prove that he is no mug with the bat and says that he enjoys taking on responsibility, considering the fact that he is one of the senior members of the Punjab team.

“I’m working hard on my batting and since T20 offers a lot of chances for big hitting and I want to pitch in with some runs,” he said.

“I’ve also worked on improving my slower ball. Being one of the senior members of the Punjab side, I’ve to take up responsibility and I have never shirked from it.”


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