Anas Edathodika made his debut in national colours at the age of 30 against Cambodia in an international friendly on March 22, 2017.
After never catching the eye of national team coaches since he forayed into professional football in 2007, Anas rose to prominense after a stellar campaign for Delhi Dynamos in the second season of the Indian Super League (ISL).
However, in 2018, at the age of 31, he had made himself an undisputable starter at the heart of the defence, partnering his Kerala Blasters team-mate Sandesh Jhingan.
"Only if you perform, you get called up for the national team. I got called up at 30. I am very happy. So if a player is hoping to break through the national team he should not lose hope. He will get chances. Never give up. Age does not matter," said Anas to Goal.
Although the pairing has failed to put up assuring performances in the ISL for Kerala Blasters, the clean sheet against Oman will definitely reassure Stephen Constantine ahead of the tournament opener against Thailand.
"I have played a lot with Sandesh. I have a great understanding with him. He is an aggressive player and we have a great combination," quipped Anas on his partnership with Jhingan.
Anas has had a shaky last season and the defender blames lack of recovery time for his topsy-turvy form.
"I have not been injured this season. I had a lot of family issues. Again in Jamshedpur we had to travel a lot. So I used to not get much time to recover. I was mentally disturbed due to family issues. But as a player, you have to work with that. I did not give up. And this year I think I did well," explained the former Jamshedpur defender.
India start their Asian Cup campaign against Thailand on January 6 at the Al Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi.