Bengaluru, July 3: Young paceman Sandeep Sharma is "excited" to play for the country against Zimbabwe and is hoping to swing the series India's way after getting valuable guidance from "legends" Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh.
Sandeep, the 22-year-old right-arm fast bowler, was picked in the 15-man Indian squad to tour Zimbabwe this month. The squad, which is captained by Ajinkya Rahane will be without many seniors including MS Dhoni. India will play 3 ODIs and 2 T20Is starting from July 10.
Stating that it is a dream come true to be called up to represent the country, Sandeep is waiting for his moment to don the India blue cap in Zimbabwe.
"Yes, it is a dream come true. For every player who plays cricket has this one dream to play for India one day and share the dressing room (with the senior players). That was my dream too and for it to be fulfilled feels amazing. I can't describe the feeling. I am very excited to go there and play against Zimbabwe in the blue jersey, getting the cap and getting the tag of being an India player," Sandeep, who plays for Punjab, told BCCI's website bcci.tv on Thursday (July 2).
Sandeep impressed the selectors during the Indian Premier League where he plays for Kings XI Punjab (KXIP). And before this he had done well in the ICC Under-19 World Cup in 2012.
"Last year when I played in the IPL I experienced that I am bowling very well with the new ball but as it becomes older I would get hit (concede runs) in the death overs and my analysis which would be good (economical) earlier would even out.
"So I talked and discussed my bowling with seniors like Viru paaji (Virender Sehwag) who is in the Kings XI Punjab team with me, Yuvi Paaji (Yuvraj Singh) who plays with us for Punjab and Harbhajan Singh. They obviously are legends (with a deep understanding of the game) and they guided me.
"They told me that everyone knows that I bowl well with the new ball and so batsman are ready for that and play cautiously early on and thinking that they can score off me when the ball is older. So they told me that I need to improve my bowling in the death overs," Sandeep explained.
Sandeep also credits Team India's current bowling coach Bharat Arun for his development as a bowler. Arun was his coach in India Under-19 team and also at the National Cricket Academy (NCA).
"My coach, Munish Bali sir helped and also our Indian team's bowling coach, Bharat Arun sir. I discussed a lot with him (Arun) too. He has been coach at the NCA as well, where I have worked and also at the U19 level and knows me very well. We talked about what kind of practice is required for which skill and I worked hard accordingly and got results.
"I feel lucky that I have played in the IPL where I have Viru paaji with me who guides me so well and then in Ranji Trophy there is Harbhajan Singh and Yuvi paaji who guide me," he added.
On his plans for Zimbabwe series, he said, "I am only thinking and working on my strengths and being able to implement them and give my hundred percent on the tour. The weather is cold so I will try to swing the ball. The key to bowling there - swing along with accuracy. In-swing and out-swing finishing on the off-stump is always the key in under any conditions. Accuracy is important."