Kerala pacer Basil Thampi, who got a surprise call-up to India’s T20I squad for the series against Sri Lanka on Monday (December 4), has confessed that he wasn’t expecting any such news. The 24-year-old also made it clear that he is more confident as a bowler now than ever before and is rather keen to do well against the Lankans.
Thampi has impressed one and all with his strong showing in domestic cricket in recent times. Playing for India 'A' against New Zealand 'A' in an unofficial ODI game in October, he removed three Kiwi batsmen in four balls to trigger a collapse. Recently, playing for Kerala against Saurashtra in a Ranji Trophy game, Basil cleaned up the tail by scalping three wickets in three overs.
"I was shocked to be honest when I came to know about the selection from KCA secretary Jayesh George. In the last one year, I have become a much more confident bowler and I'm hopeful of doing well for India against Sri Lanka," Basil was quoted by TOI as saying.
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Thampi grabbed the attention of Indian cricketing fraternity with his incredible ability to bowl the toe-crushing yorkers in the last season of Indian Premier League (IPL). He won the IPL Emerging Player award while representing the Gujarat Lions.
"The IPL match against Mumbai Indians was the turning point. I bowled 12 yorkers on the trot against Rohit Sharma and Kieron Pollard and everyone started noticing me," said Basil who has worked on his bowling with legendary Australian Glenn McGrath at the MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai.
"Don't lose pace was one thing that he (McGrath) told me and I have been keeping that in mind whenever I bowl," he added.
Seeing Thampi’s growth from close quarters, former India seamer and Kerala's current bowling coach Tinu Yohannan has said that he is a kind of bowler who can turn the fate of a match in no time.
"Basil is one bowler who can make a sudden impact and turn matches around in quick time. His strength is definitely his speed. His basics are strong and now he's high on confidence. It's the right time for him to get into the Indian team. I expect him to make an impact as a bowler for India too," Yohannan told TOI.
Subsequent to his success in IPL, Basil has gone on to play in the prestigious domestic tournament Duleep Trophy besides playing two series with India 'A' teams under the mentorship of legendary Rahul Dravid.