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Nehra’s return inspires Balaji

Calcutta: Laxmipathy Balaji wants to emulate Ashish Nehra in his quest for a comeback to the national team. The 27-year-old pacer, who bagged two wickets for Mohun Bagan in the P Sen Trophy semi-final against Kalighat at the Eden on Monday, said that he wants to follow Nehra’s footsteps and be consistent with his performances.

“Nehra did an excellent job. He was consistent all through the season and that was showing in his performance during the Indian Premier League. I was impressed with Nehra’s performance and the way he has changed his game… That’s what I want to do,” Balaji said.

“I need to perform well. I have to be consistent… That’s the keyword to return to the national side. It is a challenging and competitive task. I am looking forward to play for India again,” Balaji said.

Speaking on his inclusion in Team India’s Test squad in the tour of New Zealand earlier this year, the pacer said: “I was very happy getting the call… But you know I didn’t get proper chance in that tour. I need to work hard and consolidate my place in the team.”

“I was selected for the Sri Lanka and New Zealand series. I have it in me to go to the next level. The next couple of years will be important for me,” Balaji said when queried about his future plans.

Hailing his short stint with Bagan as a nice experience Balaji said: “It was really a good experience playing here. I knew Mohun Bagan are a good team… We had a good opposition. But it’s too hot and humid here.”

He, however, will not play for Bagan in the final against Town Club on Wednesday.

Commenting on World Twenty20 champions Pakistan, the Tamil Nadu bowler said: “It’s a great thing that Pakistan have won the World Cup… At the moment the Asian countries are doing very well in world cricket. It won’t be too long before we (the Asian cricket playing nations) dominate world cricket,” Balaji said.

“Pakistan’s win was a team effort. They were distracted with a lot of issues, hit by terrorism over the last couple of months… But they have proved their mettle,” Balaji signed off.

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