Home > Features >

Praveen Kumar believes making comeback for India is not difficult

Praveen Kumar © Getty Images
Praveen Kumar went unsold in the IPL 2014 auction © Getty Images

By G Krishnan

The grey beard and the nascent pot belly is quite misleading as Praveen Kumar is only 27 years old. It’s been two years since he vanished from scheme of things as far as playing for India is concerned. But the change in appearance is dramatic.

With a lineage that boasts of wrestlers, Praveen appears out of sorts but in his mind he nurses the kind of confidence that would make grapplers proud and the attitude that helped him make the journey from dusty play grounds near Meerut to the razzmatazz of Indian cricket.

“Coming back to the Indian team is not difficult,” he said nonchalantly. Thankfully, that aspect of his character is intact.

Coming back from a shoulder injury that kept him away fromaction for most part of the domestic season that concluded on Monday with his team finishing runners-up in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20, Praveen is confident of working his way back to the Indian team.

Praveen was meeting and greeting familiar faces at the Wankhede Stadium. After the match, he changed from Uttar Pradesh colours and put on his team India practice jersey that he must have got two years ago. It still had the then sponsor Sahara logo on it.

Praveen, who has been part of the IPL in each of the first six editions – first three for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and the next three for Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) – is now focussing on working on his fitness and be ready for the next season and be in contention for an Indian berth.

“Everything is going fine now and I just hope that I will stay as fit as possible,” Praveen said. “I was not aware of the shoulder pain earlier and I was suddenly out of action. Now I am fit, getting into rhythm with the T20 matches.”

It was largely for his injury that the franchises did not show interest in Kumar for this Indian Premier League (IPL). It may also have got to do with him playing his last international match in March 2012 and has done nothing remarkably to keep the selectors interested.

“It is difficult not being part of the IPL but will get back there soon. But what is important is that get fully fit first. I am confident of returning to IPL,” said Praveen, who has been a prominent figure in each of the previous teams that he has played for.

“My IPL experience has been good. Bowling to such big players there gives you a different level of confidence. I learned a lot in IPL. Everyday there was something new to learn,” he said.

UP coach and former India medium-pacer BK Venkatesh Prasad lamented about the absence of infrastructure for cricketers in the state. “The only thing that is lacking with UP team is fitness. You need to haveinfrastructure like gym, practice facilities,” Prasad had said.

Praveen did agree with Prasad but did not consider it as a serious problem. “Each state has its own shortcomings. The players have it upon themselves to work on their fitness. Nobody will take you holding your hands. We have to take it upon ourselves and work on fitness and keep playing. As far as I am concerned, I have 4-5 months on hand. I will do training and concentrate on my fitness, doing gym sessions.”

The UP cricketer showed signs of becoming an all-rounder but has done little justice to his batting skills. It was evident in the T20 final when UP needed 11 runs off the final over. Praveen swung and missed two of them while playing the other one back to bowler Rishi Arothe. Kumar said that he would not ignore his batting.

Known more for his useful swingers, Praveen said he is working hard to be a meaningful all-rounder. “I am giving importance to batting also,” he said.

(G Krishnan qualified as an umpire from Tamil Nadu Cricket Association in 1997 before making sports journalism as a career. His other interests include wildlife and reading. Krishnan is Principal Correspondent of DNA, where the article first appeared)

West Indies in South Africa, 2014-15

Dec 17, 2014 (14:00 IST)   at Centurion

India tour of Australia, 2014-15

Dec 17, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Woolloongabba, Brisbane

West Indies in South Africa, 2014-15

Dec 26, 2014 (14:00 IST)   at Port Elizabeth

Sri Lanka tour of New Zealand, 2014-15

Dec 26, 2014 (03:30 IST)   at Christchurch

India tour of Australia, 2014-15

Dec 26, 2014 (05:00 IST)   at Melbourne

More

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Dec 19, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

New Zealand won by 68 runs

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Dec 17, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

New Zealand won by 7 runs

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Dec 16, 2014  at Colombo

Sri Lanka won by 87 runs

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Dec 14, 2014  at Sharjah

Pakistan won by 147 runs

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Dec 13, 2014  at Pallekele

Sri Lanka won by 90 runs

Photos

India vs Australia, 2nd Test at Brisbane

Videos

Josh Hazlewood looks back at his 5-wicket haul

India vs Australia 2014-15, 2nd Test at Brisbane, Day 4: India 9 down, they were 127 runs ahead

Pakistan vs New Zealand, 5th ODI at Abu Dhabi: Key clashes

Live Cricket Score, South Africa vs West Indies,1st Test, Day 3 at Centurion: Samuels and Chanderpaul rebuild for West Indies

Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014, 5th ODI at Abu Dhabi Preview: Teams prepare for high-octane finale

Anil Kumble Australia India Ishant Sharma Moments in history Ravichandran Ashwin Ricky Ponting South Africa

India vs Australia, 2nd Test at Brisbane, Day 4: David Warner dismissed by Ishant Sharma

India bowled out for 224; set Australia 128 to win 2nd Test at Brisbane

India vs Australia, 2nd Test at Brisbane, Day 4: Shikhar Dhawan dismissed for 81

India vs Australia, 2nd Test at Brisbane, Day 4: Shikhar Dhawan scores fighting half-century

India vs Australia 2014-15, 2nd Test at Brisbane: Team India complains about practice pitches as Shikhar Dhawan is injured before play

New Zealand vs Pakistan, 5th ODI at Abu Dhabi: Marks out of 10 for Kiwis

India vs Australia, 2nd Test at Brisbane: India’s tail tales

India vs Australia, 2nd Test at Brisbane: India’s tail ought to take leaf out of Australian tail’s book

India vs Australia 2nd Test at Brisbane, Day 3: India’s pathetic bowling performance, Mitchell Johnson’s onslaught and other highlights

India’s inability to dismiss Australia’s tail can have huge impact

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

653 Posts | 10 Fans

India vs Australia: Murali Vijay's 144, Video highlights

प्रसिद्ध कथक नृत्यांगना सितारा देवी नहीं रही

More broadband connections to boost GDP growth in Asia Pacific: GSMA

India is becoming our largest overseas market, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun says

Bigg Boss 8: Ali Quli Mirza, Renee Dhyani, Upen Patel, Praneet Bhatt, Sonali Raut – who should be evicted this week?

Revealed: The reason why Kishore Kumar’s biopic starring Ranbir Kapoor won’t feature Katrina Kaif!

अभिनेत्री प्रियंका चोपड़ा ने स्वच्छ भारत अभियान में हिस्सा लिया

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here