With a spot in India 'A' team, Mandeep eyes bigger things
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The swashbuckling Punjab batsman Mandeep Singh knew selection in the World T20-bound Indian team to be announced on Friday was a very far cry, but he had his eyes on the India A tour to New Zealand next month.
And having made the cut now, Mandeep is looking at the Kiwi tour as a make or break chance for his career. He narrowly missed out on selection for the India A's tour to the West Indies, but the selectors sure have shown faith in him now.
Speaking with Sportline from Jalandhar, an excited Mandeep spoke about his selection: "I can't say that I am disappointed about the World T20 but it was nice that selectors thought I could be included in the probables list. I am rather pretty satisfied to have secured a berth in the India A team for a series against New Zealand."
He added: "I have been working hard on my game and temperament in the recent years. Moreover, I have played in the cold conditions of New Zealand during the U-19 World Cup back in 2010, that would help me adjust well when we play there."
Mandeep was the Indian Under-19 team's vice-captain during the U-19 WC in New Zealand. He was among the top scorers in the Indian team in that series. Mandeep, whose father is an athletics coach, trained in Jalandhar till few years back.
Having done well at the junior level for Punjab, Mandeep made his Ranji debut in 2010. He scored the maximum runs for Punjab in the 2011 Ranji season.
Taking this opportunity as a challenge, Mandeep, 21, said, "It is always tough to take on oppositions on foreign soil. The conditions and climate there is quite different from India. Playing for the Indian A team in New Zealand won't be a cakewalk for us. But having said that, I would like to add that I have been training hard for the past three months on my cricket and tried to make alterations accordingly. Vikram Rathore paaji has been by my side throughout, guiding and inspiring me. There were times when I was down and he would take me aside and set me right. I am much more mentally strong now. I think a lot before executing my innings, be it T20 or the longer format."
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