I missed a golden opportunity, admits Praveen Kumar
New Delhi: Praveen Kumar feels that he has missed out on a "golden opportunity" of being a part of the victorious World Cup squad but the medium pacer is hopeful that a good performance for Kings XI Punjab in the fourth edition of IPL will help him make a comeback into the national side.
"This goes without saying that I have missed the golden opportunity (to be part of the World Cup team). Whenever I see the pictures of Mahendra Singh Dhoni and the boys taking a victory lap at Wankhede Stadium, I wish I could have been there had I not got injured," Praveen told in an interview.
"But you can`t predict about injuries. These are part and parcel of a cricketer`s life. Now with the IPL round the corner, I am fit and ready to give my 100 per cent. I am looking forward towards putting up a good show that will help me comeback into the national side," Praveen further added.
The Uttar Pradesh seamer had been a regular member of the Indian team in One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and Twenty20s for the past three seasons.
He was supposed to share the new ball with Zaheer Khan before an elbow injury prevented the player from featuring in the tournament. Temperamental Kerala pacer S Sreesanth had replaced the injured Praveen in the squad.
Praveen also rated Dhoni as the best Indian captain and axed eloquent about him by saying that his leadership quality is "unquestionable".
Praveen`s comment about his skipper came a day after iconic Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar rated Dhoni as the best captain that he has played under in the last 21 years.
"Dhoni is the best captain and there is no doubt about that. He is just a class apart. He has proven to the world that his leadership quality is unquestionable. He showed the world that how cricket is played. He is such a calm and composed man.
"I am very happy for Dhoni and the whole team that they have created the history. They have won the Cup after 28 years. My heartiest congratulations to Dhoni and other boys for this historic triumph," said.
The UP lad also feels that Indian bowlers got some undue flak during the tournament.
"Our bowlers did a great job for us in the World Cup. They bowled well under pressure. So the criticism was uncalled for," he said.
Praveen, who will be returning to active cricket after an injury lay-off, said, "It won`t be an issue like making a comeback after a lay-off. When a person is playing for the country for last three years, then such 48-day injury period does not affect him much and that period is behind me now."
"I am practising hard these days and there is no injury concern. I will be playing from the very first match," he added.
On Kings XI Punjab`s chances this season, Praveen said: "As a team, we will deliver our 100 percent on the field. I am confident of winning the championship."
Praveen was bought by Punjab outfit for USD 800,000 this IPL season.