Thampi gearing up for African safari

After making it to India A squad, the Kerala speedster says his joy was doubled when he learnt that his Kerala teammate Sanju Samson had also made it to the squad for South Africa.

“I knew that two A teams for South Africa (for the one-day and four-day matches) were going to be picked, and that I stood a good chance,” Thampi told Sportstar.   -  AFP

Basil Thampi is going places, literally.

He is in Bengaluru at the moment, training at the National Cricket Academy, but after a brief stay at home in Kochi, he will fly to Kiev, Ukraine, for a function conducted by the local cricket organisers there. And then, he will be off to South Africa, to play for India A in the tri-series, also featuring Australians.

Of course it is the trip to the African continent that he is most eagerly looking forward to. The 23-year-old, who made a sudden impact with his spells of pace bowling in his maiden IPL season and won the Emerging Player award, though admitted his selection to the India A squad wasn’t entirely unexpected.

“I knew that two A teams for South Africa (for the one-day and four-day matches) were going to be picked, and that I stood a good chance,” Thampi told Sportstar over telephone from Bengaluru. “And I was thrilled when the Kerala Cricket Association secretary Jayesh George conveyed the news to me. It has been my dream to play for the country.”

He is glad that he would get to play in South Africa, where the wickets, he hopes, would encourage seamers. “I am excited about the prospects of bowling on tracks that would offer bounce,” he said. “I am also looking forward to working with the India A coach Rahul Dravid, whose skills and temperament as a batsman I have always admired.”

He is happy that he is getting an opportunity when he is in the form of his life. “I am now bowling better than I ever did in my career,” he said. “Because of the IPL, I have become a much more confident bowler.”

Thampi said his joy was doubled when he learnt that his Kerala teammate Sanju Samson had also made it to the squad for South Africa. “It is nice that Sanju, who has been playing at this level for quite some time, would be there with me,” he said. “I have enjoyed playing along with him in the Kerala team in the Ranji Trophy and limited overs tournaments.”

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