Uncapped Karnataka seamer S Aravind has reacted to his recall to the India squad for the T20 internationals against South Africa by saying he was "expecting this". Aravind had received his maiden international call-up in 2011 for the home ODIs against England, but was soon out of the fray with an injury that kept him out of action for four weeks.
"I was so happy and excited when I heard of this call-up. It has been a long journey and I was expecting this," Arvind told bcci.tv. "In 2011 it was very surprising for me. This time I was much more prepared. Since the last time, I have improved my bowling and worked really hard to get better as a bowler."
Aravind was the fourth highest wicket-taker in Karnataka's victorious Ranji Trophy campaign last season, and second highest for his team, with 42 wickets at an average of 17.42 from ten matches. Since his call-up in 2011, Aravind has taken 62 wickets at an average of 25.80 in 21 first-class matches, and 18 wickets from 16 T20s with an economy of 8.28. Aravind was recently picked for the India A one-day matches against Bangladesh A and he returned figures of 2 for 14, 0 for 56 and 3 for 29.
"Since the injury, I have improved my fitness levels, worked on my bowling action and in getting the right lengths," he said. "The work I have put into my fitness has also helped me add a couple of yards of pace in my bowling. Now I am much more experienced and I can handle the pressure in the right way. I have reached a place where I am mature enough to put all the pressure aside and focus on what needs to be done."
Aravind, a left-arm pacer, has played for Royal Challengers Bangalore for three seasons - 2011, 2012 and 2015, sharing the dressing room with Zaheer Khan. This year he featured in five IPL matches, taking eight wickets, and got a chance to bowl with Mitchell Starc. Aravind is also the only left-arm seamer in India's T20 squad, which lacks a proper fast bowler.
"I have learned many things from him [Zaheer] as to what difference a left-arm pacer can make to the team," Aravid said. "He kept it very simple. He always talked about bowling hard lengths and reading the batsman so you can be one up against him. I also learned a lot from him in terms of forming different plans to counter each batsman based on his skills. There was one thing he told me that has stuck with me. He said, 'We, as bowlers, have six balls in an over whereas a batsman, once he gets out, doesn't have another opportunity'. That mindset has helped me be more confident about my own bowling.
"Mitchell Starc has been very helpful. The most important thing I've learnt from him was how to bowl yorkers effectively based on the wicket you are bowling on."
If Aravind is picked in the India XI, he will get a chance to bowl to his Royal Challengers team-mate AB de Villiers. Aravind said de Villiers had also offered him many tips and he would share his observations on bowling to the South Africa batsman in the Indian dressing room.
"I bowl a lot to AB de Villiers in the nets and have learned many things about how to bowl to him. If I can share the information with my team-mates, it will help not only me but also the other bowlers when we play South Africa. AB gave me helpful pointers from the batsman's perspective when I bowled to him in the nets - what delivery he finds tough to deal with and how I can trouble the batsman more if I change the angle or the length."