India all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who has been rested for the Test matches against Sri Lanka, on Monday said he asked for the rest because of niggles.
The 24-year-old said he will use this break to improve his fitness so that he could perform to the best of his abilities during the South Africa tour. The all-rounder was rested for the Sri Lanka series but is looking forward towards a long tour in South Africa.
India will play three Tests, six One Day Internationals (ODI) and three Twenty20 Internationals against the Proteas. The first Test begins on January 5 in Cape Town.
"To be honest, I asked for it. My body wasn't up to it, I was getting niggles because of the amount of cricket that I have played. I want to play cricket when I am totally up for it, when I can give my 100 percent," said Pandya, as media reports suggest.
"I am lucky that I have got this break. I will train in the gym during this break and improve my fitness. I won't lie, I am really excited about South Africa series. I would like to use this break to improve my fitness for the series," he added.
Pandya said he will remain positive ahead of the series and will play well.
"Yes, I am really excited. People are talking about it. It's a much-hyped series. I like challenges in life, they keep me going. As you said I am the missing link in the team, who knows I might be the difference there. I am sure we are going to play very well," he said.
When asked about the biggest turning point of his career, Pandya said: "My life changed when I got a chance to play for MI (Mumbai Indians) and then I never looked back. I had a small failure and that's why I learned to be even more professional. You need to understand that some things are bad. That's how you improve in life."
(With IANS Inputs)