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Monday, 28 July 2014

I never gave up on my Test dream: Pankaj Singh

Pankaj-Singh-Test-Debut-England-v-India-3rd-Investec-Test

Everybody has dreams. Many surrender to fate and give up on them. Only a few gifted ones go on to write their own fate. And fewer show unflinching perseverance to fight their fate. (Also Read: Stats Highlights: England vs India, 3rd Investec Test - Day 1)

Pankaj Singh fought his fate. For 10 years. Season after season, match after match, day after day. Finally, he defeated the fate. Pankaj’s moment of victory came when he was presented with his first Test cap by Sourav Ganguly ahead of India’s third Test against England at the Ageas Bowl.  “You deserve it,” Ganguly told him. (Also Read: Report: England vs India, 3rd Investec Test - Day 1)

Pankaj made his first-class debut in 2004, and in 2014, after 77 matches and 300 wickets, he lived the biggest dream of his life – to play Test cricket for India.

“It’s a big achievement. It took me 10 years to get here,” Pankaj told 
BCCI.TV after the first day’s play. “This was my biggest dream, to play Test cricket for India and I have made it true today.”

A tall and strapping fast bowler, Pankaj earned each of his wickets in India’s domestic circuit by toiling hard on pitches not conducive for fast bowling. Playing for Rajasthan, he played most his matches on the Jaipur wicket, where the average first innings score is 320 (386 since 2010) and the highest total team total is 668.

Pankaj did everything to enhance his chances of getting picked for the Test squad – consistently finished among the top wicket-takers in Ranji Trophy since the last five years (finished first in Plate Group in 2009-10 and 2010-11 and was third-highest wicket-taker in Super League Group in 2011-12), worked on his physical strength so he could add a few yards to his pace and led Rajasthan to Ranji Trophy titles in 2010 and 2011 with a total of 196 wickets over two seasons.

But the call never came.

However, Pankaj’s dream was too important for him to give up on it. “I never gave up on this dream. How could I? There would have been nothing for me to work hard for. Where would I have gone without this dream and without my cricket?”

Pankaj’s first day in Test cricket was very similar to the story that preceded it. He bowled his heart out in his 20 overs, got the edges, beat the bat innumerable times and made scoring difficult for the England batsmen. But luck deserted him. Alastair Cook was dropped by Ravindra Jadeja at third slip off Pankaj’s bowling and a close lbw shout went against him.

However, the seasoned campaigner knows better than to sulk. And so he smiled. He said patience was the key. “You have to keep repeating the same thing over and over again and have to have much more patience than you need at the domestic level.

“If there you get a wicket after bowling five good overs, at the domestic level, you’ll have to bowl 10 at this level, because the batsmen are so much better.” With a wry smile, he added, “And you also have to wait for your luck.”

source: bcci.tv

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