New Delhi: Making a comeback into the Indian cricket team after spending nearly two years in wilderness, Uttar Pradesh leg-spinner Piyush Chawla is keen to make the most of the opportunity and wants to cement his place as an all-rounder in the national side.
Chawla has been picked for the five ODIs and a Twenty20 game against South Africa beginning January 9.
The spinner lost his place in the Indian one-day team in 2008, his last international being against Pakistan in Karachi.
“I know the all-rounder’s spot in the Indian team is vacant. However, my first job is to take wickets. The selectors have shown faith in my bowling during the Ranji season and I want to make this opportunity count,” Chawla told reporters.
“If I bat at number 7 or 8 position and score quick 30-40 runs for the team then it will be like bonus for my side and I am preparing myself for that,” he added.
Chawla said the ODI series in South Africa is a good opportunity to test his skills before the 50-over cricket World Cup in the sub-continent.
He is placed second in UP’s list of top run-getters with 305 runs in six matches, including a maiden century in Ranji Trophy. He has so far taken 14 wickets in six matches at an average of 44.07.
“I did well in the tour game against Australia and Irani Trophy. I may not have got many overs to bowl in Ranji but did a respectable job with the ball. Also, I scored some runs for Uttar Pradesh,” he said.
Chawla is in the list of 30 probables for the World Cup announced recently by the national selectors.
The Aligarh-born cricketer, who first made it to the Test squad against England at Mohali in 2006, said he is confident of his success on bowler-friendly South African pitches.
“It’s a great opportunity for me. I will do my best if given the chance. My preparation is good and I am looking forward to contribute with both bat and bowl during the series,” he added.