Milind: 'I worked more on my fitness'

The 22-year-old Chama Milind, who has had a dream Ranji season with a splendid all-round performance scoring 316 runs and taking 35 wickets, is quite eager to prove a point or two in the upcoming two-day warm-up match against Bangladesh in February.

"The objective has always been the same, irrespective of playing for any side, to give off my best," said Milind.   -  V.V. Subrahmanyam

For left-arm pacer Chama Milind, it is a dream come true when he was picked to play for India A against the visiting Bangladesh in a two-day practice game at Gymkhana Ground here from February 5 to 6.

The 22-year-old Milind, who has had a dream Ranji season with a splendid all-round performance scoring 316 runs (including a century) and taking 35 wickets, is quite naturally elated and eager to prove a point or two.

“I don’t want to talk big. But, I feel privileged to be picked. It is a great honour and also a huge responsibility,” said the young champion bowler in an exclusive chat with ‘ Sportstar’ on Saturday from Chennai (where Hyderabad is playing in the All India Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 championship).

“Honestly, feeling immensely satisfied. Yes, but for the normal pressure sort of thing because it being my big game, I will look at that as another game with the specific intent of giving off my best,” said Milind, who admires Aussie speedster Mitchell Starc.

The former India Under-19 bowler is also pleased at having got the India A not for a match to be played at ‘home’. “Yes, playing at Gymkhana should only help my cause being so familiar with the playing conditions,” he pointed out.

What exactly are the changes you have to make for such a big haul of wickets in Ranji this season? “Let me reiterate that there was no change in my action or anything else. But, there has been a conscious effort to be more consistent, staying focussed,” Milind said. “Yes, I did work more on my fitness and that really helped me a lot,” he added.

“The fact that we had two other good pacers – Md. Siraj (42 wickets) and Ravi Kiran (34 wickets) in Ranji season – in the team. In a way, there was very healthy competition amongst ourselves. This actually helped all three of us,” he remarked.

"The five-wicket haul against Mumbai in the quarterfinal this Ranji season was very special. I was playing them for the first time in a four-day game and that spell took my confidence to a new level and feel completely different," he recalled.

“Realistically, I don’t set any targets as such except taking every game as the stepping stone for the next big thing. The objective has always been the same – irrespective of playing for any side – to give off my best,” observed Milind.

“I can’t say there is anyone individual who was the biggest influence on me as a cricketer. But, I am thankful to my parents, the coaches from my school days and all the officials who have shown so much of faith in me and gave me the chance to play for Hyderabad in different age groups,” he explained.

“Well, I just hope to come good against Bangladeshis and keep looking ahead,” signs off Milind.

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