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You had a good England A tour. How much did you learn from there and what do you see coming in the Emerging tournament in Australia?
The best thing for an opener is to get some good scores in England. I learnt a lot in coping with the conditions there. Swing was a major factor and a few good scores against England Lions and West Indies ĎAí side added to my confidence and self belief. Australia is the next level to test myself. I have had mixed memories of being there. Four years ago, I failed there and missed my big chance. Two years ago, when I went there again, I was the highest run-getter. The bounce on the wicket will help my style of batting and I am looking to carry my good form there.
Being part of India A and playing the Emerging tournament means all of you are fighting for a place in the Indian team.
Competition is always there, and some sort of friendly competition always brings the best in you. I gel nicely with everyone and we all know itís all about grabbing the chances that come your way.
How do you rate your chances?
I guess one big knock can take you anywhere...thatís how close I believe I am to breaking to the Indian team. I know that one good performance in a tour can make a big difference. Knowing that I am on the brink, it helps me motivate myself. But the decision lies with the selectorsí and I respect that.
After your dream under-19 World Cup six years ago, you blinked off the radar before coming back strongly last season.
After the initial under-19 days, I went through a lean patch in between and again hit form later. I have seen the good and the bad at an early stage of my career. It has taught me to remain down to earth and respect the game and go about it in a disciplined manner. I try and recall my big innings, see what things I did correctly then. When I am going through a lean patch, I try and analyse my mistakes.
Sharing the dressing room and opening with Sachin Tendulkar must have been a great learning experience.
Sachin told me to always get a positive feel about the game, always play free and your natural game. It was an education to see him going about his game and how he prepares for every match. He told me to always back myself to win a game for the side.
You come from a state which already have three India openers in the XI. Did that make your job more difficult?
Itís difficult to establish yourself as an opener for Delhi but because I did well in the under-19 World Cup I got an entry into the team. But I had to bide my time, there were times when the seniors came back to play and I had to sit out but it taught me to be patient.