Patient Pankaj waits for his chance
Tall, fast and robust – Pankaj Singh is slowly but surely making his mark in the cricketing fraternity with steady performances, but has somehow failed to catch the selectors' eyes.
A right-arm medium-fast bowler from Rajasthan, Pankaj made his first-class debut way back in 2003 and has since then progressed through the ranks, right from the U19 stage to the India A side. In 2006, Pankaj was instrumental in taking his state team to the Ranji Plate league finals with 21 wickets. Similar performances on the domestic front earned him a well deserved spot in the national side. However, after making his ODI debut against Sri Lanka in 2010, the pacer hasn't played any international cricket till date.
Yet, at 28, Pankaj is still trying to prove himself by almost topping Rajasthan's bowling charts for over 6 years now. In 72 first-class matches so far, he has collected 271 wickets at an average of 26.07 that included five successful seasons. In an interview with Cricinfo last year during the Ranji Trophy, Pankaj vented his frustration. “What more do I need to do to seek attention?”, he asked. It's true.
Despite being one of the most consistent and wicket-taking bowlers, he hasn't made it beyond a lone ODI. When he was told to work on his pace, the youngster diligently worked on it and claims he can now bowl 135 plus kph regularly. Pankaj hasn't just performed against weaker domestic teams. He has found success against a strong side like Mumbai as well. He was the third highest wicket-taker in Rajasthan's victorious campaign in 2011/12.
The frustration aside, Pankaj has started the 2013/14 Ranji season on a strong note. In just 5 games so far, he has once again topped Rajasthan's bowling tally with 19 wickets to his name. It's a long season ahead, which means he gets one more season to get noticed by the selectors.
It's never too late, they say. Here's wishing Pankaj Singh plenty of success in the years to come.
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