New Delhi: Leg-spinner Rahul Sharma, who rose to fame with an impressive performance for Pune Warriors in the IPL, says he considers the Twenty20 league the turning point of his career as he can now harbour hopes of a national call very soon.
One of the most economical bowlers in IPL 4, Rahul has claimed 16 wickets in 14 matches with an impressive economy rate of 5.46.
"IPL 4 has been the turning point of my career. I had played for Deccan Chargers in previous season and took six wickets in as many matches. But this time, I am extremely happy with my performance. I played well in the Ranji circuit also but unfortunately those matches do not get telecast," Rahul said.
He was not selected in the Indian team for the West Indies tour but remains hopeful of getting a chance soon.
"I was hoping to get a chance for the West Indies tour but it did not happen. I am not disheartened though. I will work harder and hope that my day will come soon," he said.
He might play in the Sri Lankan Premier League.
"I have offers post IPL. Life has changed a lot. Now, I will appoint a manager who will look after endorsement and all. As far as cricket is concerned, I have an offer to play in the Sri Lankan League and I might play provided there is no engagement with India A team," said the lanky leg-spinner.
During IPL 3, he was diagnosed with a facial nerve dysfunction that affected his vision. He worked with doctors to recover enough to return to cricket. He made his first-class debut for Punjab in 2006, but had to wait till 2009 to play again.
"That was the most difficult period for me. Almost everyone was discouraging me but my coach Devendra Arora and Bhajji bhai (Harbhajan Singh), whom I used to meet in the Gym, helped me a lot," Rahul said.
Sachin Tendulkar and Adam Gilchrist have been his favourite batsmen and to get them out were the most memorable moments for him in the IPL.
"I have bowled against explosive batters such as Chris Gayle, Virender Sehwag, Keiron Pollard and Adam Gilchrist but Sachin is the toughest batsman to bowl. He is the best and I am fortunate to get his wicket in IPL 3 and 4," said the 24-year-old.
The ninth-place finish by his team hurts him a lot but Rahul is confident that Pune Warriors will bounce back.
"Our team was new so we lacked experience. We have quality players and there is no reason why we cannot do well next season," he said.
It was a dream come true for him to play with Sourav Ganguly whom he admires a lot.
"It was my dream to play with him. He used to say that one should finish the game for the team whether he is a batsman or bowler. I learnt a lot from him," said Rahul.
Despite the poor show in IPL, he has full faith in Yuvraj Singh`s leadership skills.
"Yuvi paaji is a great player and captain. He motivated me a lot on and off the field. He had full belief in me from the first match and I did not look back after that," said Rahul, who is also planning to meet legendary leg spinner Anil Kumble to fine-tune his skill.
"I met him in the last IPL. This time, I did not get a chance to meet him but I talked to him over phone. I will soon meet him to get some tips to be a better leg spinner," he said.