"Of course every cricketer who's playing wants to play for the country. But you can't let that affect you or consume you when you're in the act of bowling. If you try to put in extra effort keeping in mind that the selectors are watching and you have to impress them, then you won't bowl well. You should just bowl normally, because if you think of all that, you'll lose concentration while actually bowling. If you want to play for India, you need to first bowl the ball. Then if you do that well, you'll get to play."
Wise words those. But they didn't come from an experienced international cricketer, or even a veteran around the domestic circuit who has been there, done that. That was Ishwar Pandey, playing for Rest of India against Mumbai in the Irani Cup match in February 2013.
Pandey, who turned 24 on August 15, has put those words into practice. In the last Ranji season, he was the highest wicket-taker, with 48 scalps at 21.06 and a strike-rate of 43.46. And he capped the perfect birthday week by bowling India A to an innings and 13 runs win against South Africa A in Rustenburg, with match figures of 7 for 71, breaking partnerships at key moments in both innings and returning in the dying moments of the final day to take the final wicket and deliver victory.