Delighted with his inclusion in the Indian team for the first three matches of the five-match ODI series against New Zealand, Mandeep Singh has credited India A coach Rahul Dravid for his recent success.
After failing to score a single half-century for India A in the first four games of the Quadrangular series in Australia, the right-handed batsman scored two half-centuries in the last two games of the series including a 95 in the final against Australia A which helped the visitors to clinch the series.
Talking to Hindustan Times, the 24-year old said that Dravid gave him the much-needed self-belief and vowed to carry the newly-found confidence in the upcoming series.
“I will carry the confidence Rahul bhai gave me. “He, basically, showed me how self-belief can do wonders for you,” Mandeep said.
Mandeep revealed that he feared for his future in the senior Indian team after failing to perform in the initial phase of the tournament but his coach’s constant advice helped him to forget the pressure and perform well.
“I was under a lot of pressure in the initial matches during the tour. The wickets and the conditions were different and the opposition was at their best. So, I had started to break down mentally and was over-thinking, questioning my abilities as a batsman. I thought that my India senior stint would just be limited to the T20 matches I played in Zimbabwe (in June) as I was not able to get runs in Australia,” the Punjab batsman said.
“He (Dravid) kept pushing me and kept telling me to let go of the pressure and not think about cricket all the time,” added Mandeep.
“He helped me get over the failures during the initial matches and advised me to just play my natural game. Before the final, I played a handy knock of 56 runs and that lifted my spirits.”
Son of an athletics coach, Mandeep said that going against his father to pursue a career in cricket and not in athletics was not an easy decision but his recent success has made his parents happy.
“Getting an ODI team call-up is a big deal for me,” he said.
“Going against my father and not taking up athletics as a sport was not easy. And today my parents are the happiest seeing me getting closer to my dream. I think of ways to keep the pressure away from my mind and I am a different batsman mentally after the Australia tour because of Dravid’s conditioning,” Mandeep concluded.