Frustration is not there when I'm performing, says Jalaj Saxena
RANCHI: His numbers are certainly impressive if not outstanding. He has 307 wickets in 115 first-class matches at an average of 28.12. His contribution with the willow, too, has been substantial. 6153 runs with a highest score of 194 and one would expect the player to have been given a chance to prove his mettle at the highest level.
But for Jalaj Saxena the call from the national selectors has remained elusive. The 32-year-old right-arm off-spinning all-rounder from Madhya Pradesh, who currently plies his trade with Kerala, recorded the best ever bowling figures in a Deodhar Trophy match on Friday when he claimed 7/41 against India 'A', at the JSCA International Cricket Stadium for India 'C'.
With selector Sarandeep Singh in attendance during the list A encounter, one may hope his hard yards at the domestic level might finally earn him a call-up to the senior side. But for Saxena, he has seen it all and yet refuses to throw in the towel.
"Frustration is not there if I am performing well. Yes, 4-5 years back I used to get frustrated. But those around me guided me immensely. Selection is not in my hands and neither it is my job. My motivation is to play for India and even today it is still there. In my heart there is still hope that one day I will get to wear the India cap. With this hope I wake up every morning," says Saxena.
A proven performer in domestic cricket, Saxena has been trying out different variations, especially in white-ball cricket, including the leg spin and the carom ball. "I feel every year one needs to learn something new. There is so much of cricket happening nowadays that one has to always stay updated. Plus as a spinner I feel the more experienced you are the better you get. I work very hard behind my fitness and with experience I believe one can always do well."
The Delhi Capitals player, however, had some words of caution in relation to the importance of variations. "Variations are always important but one has to understand how effective the stock delivery will be. If the stock delivery is effective, only then variations work. The base has to be the stock delivery and then the variations can be in and around it," adds Saxena.
While technically he hasn't rung in many changes to his game, the 32 year-old believes it is his mental adjustments that have seen him put the disappointments behind and flourish. "More than technical, I feel it is the mental aspect that I have changed quite a lot. Cricket is a game I feel that is 90% in the mind. So I not only try to develop my skills but also improve mentally. And that is where yoga has been a big help," says Saxena.
Batting at different positions has taught Saxena to be flexible. "I try to perform in whichever situation or position I am sent in. For India A sides, I have come in at No. 7 while in Ranji Trophy sometimes I open and have even come down at No.6 or 7. Being a professional you have to adjust to these things," says Saxena.