After missing out on initial Indian Premier League action, Praveen Kumar made an instant impact against Chennai Super Kings, albeit in a losing cause, but the Mumbai Indians medium-pacer said he still gets the goose bumps when he thinks about his snub during the February auctions.
"I was very disappointed when I was not picked in the auctions. It was a shocking moment for me. I was dejected for the first week-and-a-half, but started to calm down as the days passed by," Praveen told IPL's official website.
"There came a point at that time when I actually stopped getting out of my house, thinking what people would talk about me and feared if they would ask me different kinds of questions. But slowly, I started getting out and all the negativity faded off. I was gutted that I hadn't got a chance to play on a platform where I have been playing for so long," added an emotional Praveen.
But fate had other plans for Praveen as MI management opted to replace an injured Zaheer Khan with him and the Meerut-born player was relieved to be back in the IPL dugout.
"I was extremely happy when I got a call from Mumbai Indians to represent them in the IPL. I couldn't sleep that night, and all of a sudden, I became a lot more positive. It was a great moment for me when I realised that I will be back in action," said Praveen.
The Uttar Pradesh pacer used all his experience to good effect at the Wankhede stadium here last night against CSK when he picked up two wickets at an economy rate of just over seven. Having scalped the prized wickets of dangerman Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum, Praveen revealed that he had done his home work.
"I was watching the IPL matches at home. I was watching how Dwayne was going about his batting and kept a tab on his weaknesses. I noticed that he was playing the inswinger well in all those matches and had difficulties playing the outswinger. It was strange that tonight he was playing the outswinger better and had problems playing the inswinger," said Praveen.
Praveen, 27, who has picked up 77 wickets in 68 One-day Internationals and 27 scalps in six Tests for India, said that inswing comes naturally to him and he sticks to his basics.
"Inswing comes natural to me and I can bowl it at any given point of time. My only focus was to swing the ball at the right line and length. I am happy that everything is falling in place slowly, and it never felt like I was playing after being out of action for a long time," he said.
Injuries have plagued Praveen's start-and-stop career with his ODI debut against Pakistan in November 2007. The out-of-favour pacer last played in 2012 Asia Cup but is now fit and raring to go.
"I have always had injuries creeping in all of a sudden. All my injuries - be it my shoulder, my elbow or my broken rib - have never been a problem that has persisted for a long time. They all came all of a sudden and happened by accident. Now, I am fit and raring to go," Praveen said.