His three-year wait finally over, Karnataka pacer R Vinay Kumar vowed to put his best foot forward if he gets an opportunity in the forthcoming Twenty20 World Cup in the West Indies.
"It is always a great feeling to be given the honour of playing for the country, I am elated. I thank the selectors for recognising my performance. I will do my very best to vindicate their faith in me," said Vinay, who has 200 scalps in 45 Ranji Trophy matches.
Vinay Kumar was rewarded for his consistent performance in domestic cricket as he was the only new face to be included into the 15-member squad, to be led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni, for the mega-event starting next month.
"I have to thank Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid, Javagal Srinath, Venkatesh Prasad and Sunil Joshi for backing me. They always stood behind me," said Vinay, who has had the rare privilege of taking Sachin Tendulkar's wicket twice in the Indian Premier League.
"I would also like to thank my coach Prakash Pawar, who is no more, and L M Prakash for recognising my talent and developing me into what I am today. K Jeswanth and K Sanath Kumar (Karnataka coaches) were also instrumental in shaping my career," he added.
Vinay was also touched by former Karnataka bowler Y B Patel. "He would say that I will go on to play big cricket and always encouraged me. Even on his death bed, he told someone to hand over a kit bag to me. I haven't used it. I treasure it."
Meanwhile, coach Prakash recalled Vinay's dedication as a 13-year-old.
"I first saw him at the Mothiveerappa High School ground. Observing his seriousness and dedication at the practice, I included him in the United Cricketers side," Prakash said.
He was a quick learner, rectifying his mistakes with each match. I knew he would play for India one day," he said.