Tamil Nadu limited-overs captain Vijay Shankar is happy to have earned a spot in the India 'A' squad to play in the five-match one-day series in South Africa and expects the conditions there to be challenging.
"Playing in South Africa will be a good opportunity and a challenge. My focus will be to play my natural game. If I can perform to the best of my ability, I will be more than happy and the rest will follow," the 26-year old all-rounder said.
He agreed that conditions in South Africa would be challenging, batting-wise.
However, Shankar doesn't want to get carried away since he had missed out playing for India 'A' side last year due to an injury after being selected to tour Australia.
"It was painful. To play for India is my dream and that tour (of Australia) would have taken me a step closer. So, this time I am not getting too excited. Till I go there (South Africa) and play matches, I want to be normal," he told PTI.
"I want to enjoy my cricket. That is my priority now. After what happened last year, I am not getting too far ahead. The tour is important for me to gain experience and do well," he said.
Selection for the South Africa ODI series, scheduled to begin on July 26, means he will miss the initial matches of the second edition of Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL).
Having missed out on the entire league last year as he was undergoing rehabilitation after surgery, Shankar expects to play a part for his team Lyca Kovai Kings after the 'A' team assignment.
He has enjoyed a good domestic season, captaining the state to triumphs in the Vijay Hazare and Deodhar trophy tournaments.
The Chennai player followed it up with a decent run in the IPL with Sunrisers Hyderabad. Later, he kept himself busy playing the city league and was among the runs too.
Looking back at the 2016-17 domestic season, which saw the State team also reach the Ranji Trophy semifinals, Shankar said, he had a good season.
"I am happy because we won two major tournaments. Most importantly, we won the Deodhar Trophy this year and we are the only state team to do so, which is a big achievement. Doing well in the domestic tourneys is also good for the players as their performances will get noticed.
"Being part of the IPL team Sunrisers Hyderabad also had a huge impact. Rubbing shoulders with the top players was a great experience. The intensity of their practice and work is something I am striving to imbibe," he said.
Shankar said he had learnt a lot by watching and interacting with Australian opener and SRH captain David Warner.
"His positive approach seems to have rubbed off on me. Also, I learnt by watching the big names (in the Sunrisers team) as to how they adapt to different conditions and situations. I am glad I was able to do reasonably well in the chances I got," he added.
Updated Date: Jun 29, 2017 23:20 PM