Last 3 years were toughest for me: Balaji

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> After spending three years in oblivion with a back injury, L Balaji made a comeback against Sri Lanka and now the pacer has made the cut for the NZ tour.

Updated: February 13, 2009 16:10 IST
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New Delhi:

After spending three years in oblivion with a back injury, Lakshmipathy Balaji made a comeback in the one-day side against Sri Lanka last week, and on Friday the Tamil Nadu pacer was smiling all the way, having made the cut for the Test squad to New Zealand.

The 27-year-old made his comeback to international cricket when he was picked as replacement for Munaf Patel in the middle of the one-day series in Sri Lanka. Though he played only the inconsequential fifth and the last ODI of the series, his consistent performance in the domestic circuit got him a berth in the Test squad to New Zealand.

Balaji is confident of a good show in New Zealand.

"It is a good opportunity for me and I am confident of a good show in New Zealand," Balaji said on Friday.

"It all depends on the team management, what kind of bowling composition they want for the Test series. But I know I have to play well and give my best when my chance comes."

Asked about his comeback in the one-day series in Sri Lanka, he said: "It was a great feeling to play international cricket once again. I am enjoying the challenges coming my way."

After his carefully-charted comeback from a back injury that kept him out of the national side for three years, Balaji made his comeback last year with Tamil Nadu in the Ranji Trophy and also made a big splash for Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

"The last three years have been the toughest in my career. Now I am happy that the hard work I have put in all these years did not go waste. It was a tough journey, but when the going gets tough the tough gets going," he said.

In the 2008-09 Ranji Trophy, he was among the top five bowlers while in IPL he earned the distinction of becoming the first bowler to get a hat trick.

"I am grateful to Chennai Super Kings. They believed in me and gave me the platform to prove myself again. I just kept on giving my best and everything fell in place for me."

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