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Comeback man Balaji eyes success in NZ

Balaji made the cut for the Test squad to New Zealand.

February 13, 2009, 3:46 PM IST
Comeback man Balaji eyes success in NZ

New Delhi: After spending three years in oblivion with a back injury, Lakshmipathy Balaji made a comeback in the one-day side against Sri Lanka last week, and Friday the Tamil Nadu pacer was smiling all the way, having made the cut for the Test squad to New Zealand.

The 27-year-old made his comeback to international cricket when he was picked as a replacement for Munaf Patel in the middle of the one-day series in Sri Lanka. Though he played only the inconsequential fifth and the last ODI of the series, his consistent performance in the domestic circuit got him a berth in the Test squad to New Zealand.

Balaji is confident of a good show in New Zealand.

"It is a good opportunity for me and I am confident of a good show in New Zealand," Balaji said on Friday.

"It all depends on the team management, what kind of bowling composition they want for the Test series. But I know I have to play well and give my best when my chance comes."

Asked about his comeback in the one-day series in Sri Lanka, he said: "It was a great feeling to play international cricket once again. I am enjoying the challenges coming my way."

After his carefully charted comeback from a back injury that kept him out of the national side for three years, Balaji made his comeback last year with Tamil Nadu in the Ranji Trophy and also made a big splash for Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

"The last three years have been the toughest in my career. Now I am happy that the hard work I have put in all these years did not go waste. It was a tough journey, but when the going gets tough the tough gets going," he said.

In the 2008-09 Ranji Trophy, he was among the top five bowlers while in IPL he earned the distinction of becoming the first bowler to get a hat trick.

"I am grateful to Chennai Super Kings. They believed in me and gave me the platform to prove myself again. I just kept on giving my best and everything fell in place for me.

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 5046 120
2 New Zealand 2829 109
3 England 4366 104
4 South Africa 3177 102
5 Australia 3672 102
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Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6745 125
2 India 7071 122
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 Australia 5543 111
5 South Africa 5193 110
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1 Pakistan 8366 270
2 Australia 6986 269
3 England 5568 265
4 South Africa 4720 262
5 India 9349 260
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