Karnataka v Delhi, Ranji Trophy, Bangalore, 2nd day December 9, 2012

Awana's timely performances earn Test call

Parvinder Awana took a five-for and scored a fifty against Karnataka, and with India losing to England in Kolkata, he was rewarded with a call-up to the Test squad
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A five-for one day; an attacking half-century the next. Parvinder Awana's performance in the ongoing Ranji Trophy match between Delhi and Karnataka was eye-catching, and well timed. India had just lost the Kolkata Test to England, and the selectors were due to pick the squad for Nagpur and the two Twenty20s. Patience had run out with Zaheer Khan and Awana, the Delhi seamer who has been part of the India A team, was selected in both squads.

Awana was approaching his fifty at the Chinnaswamy Stadium when he heard. He had gestured to the dressing room and one of the reserves stepped out with a pair of bats and the good news of his selection. Awana had come out to bat when Delhi were 144 for 7, 48 away from drawing level with Karnataka's first-innings score. With no specialist batsmen left, he guided his partner Sumit Narwal, and they first inched towards safety before launching towards the target of 192 and past it.

After he got news of his selection, Awana stepped up the pace. He hit the ball to the deep midwicket boundary to bring up his maiden first-class fifty. With the deficit wiped out, Awana attacked the bowling until his departure for 74.

After a relatively quiet opening day, television news crews arrived at the ground when Awana's selection was announced. Having played the IPL and felt its spotlight, Awana saw the attention coming. "It is every player's dream to be selected for the national team and it was mine too," Awana said. "I've got the opportunity at the right time. I've had some good performances recently."

The only time he struggled a bit to maintain composure while answering questions was when he was asked whom he would dedicate this selection to. To understand where his emotions were coming from, one would have to trace his background. Awana grew up in a village in the outskirts of Noida, in Delhi's National Capital Region. His family went through hard times when his father died in 1999 and the responsibility of taking care of the family fell on his mother. It came down to picking a career with the police force or in cricket. Awana chose sport and there was no looking back.

"I'd like to thank my mother. My father has passed away," Awana said. "I was thinking of him today. My mother has helped me a lot."

Early recognition came when he won a fast-bowling talent hunt in 2004, by clocking 138 kph. Awana was eventually picked in the Delhi Ranji side and the 2011-12 season, in which he took 35 first-class wickets, was his most productive. He was rewarded with an IPL stint with Kings XI Punjab, and he impressed with his ability to bowl in the mid-140 kph range.

Awana expected to be on the plane to the Caribbean for an A tour after the IPL, but was overlooked by the selectors. He took the disappointment in his stride, saying his early life lessons helped him cope with rejection. However, an injury to RP Singh opened a slot for Awana. He played one game on tour and took three wickets. He was overlooked again for the A tour of New Zealand but was picked for the A team's match against England at Brabourne Stadium. He went wicketless, but his two five-fors this Ranji season were a timely reminder of his talents.

Awana doesn't rely on raw pace alone. Against Karnataka, on a grassy first-day pitch, he pitched the ball up, swung it and tempted the batsmen to drive. The ball that broke KL Rahul's defences and sent the off stump for a spin was his best delivery.

"I've learnt that just pace isn't enough, that line and length is also important," he said. "My deliveries cut in naturally. In India, we mostly get flat wickets. So I don't think about what kind of pitch I get, I concentrate on bowling well through the air. I've been playing for Delhi, and I've learnt a lot from my seniors, Ashish bhai [Nehra], Ishant [Sharma], Viru bhai [Sehwag]. I've also learnt a lot from the IPL."

In Karnataka's second innings, when Delhi were searching for a breakthrough, Awana was the only bowler who created chances against both batsmen. The wicketkeeper and slips let him down.

Did he feel any extra pressure to deliver, now that he's been picked in the Test squad? "Pressure?" he asks with a smile. "No pressure at all. I've been playing for five-six years anyway."

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • N.SHURESH on December 12, 2012, 12:35 GMT

    Selectors must consider the player's current form. Past performance/ Form wont help to win current matches. Choose from Ranji Matches. There are plenty of players performing consistently well with commitment. Better than current fixed asset Indian XI players. (Whether performing or not they can remain in the playing XI as much as their wish)

  • N.SHIV on December 12, 2012, 12:18 GMT

    Indian team looking for a Fast Bowling Allrounder for a long time. Why cant give a chance to RISHI DAWAN (Himachal Pradesh)? Just 22 Years old & performing exceptional well with bat & Bowl in the on going Ranji Matches. scored 3 centuries from 6 matches & 2 Five wickets haul. From 21 matches more than 1000 Runs (AV. 44) & 92 Wickets(Av.25)

    Please don't label him next KAPIL DEV & spoil his carer. No one come closer to Great Kapil's fitness & performance. So many players got the next Kapil Dev label & vanished. players like Athul Wassan, Ajth Agarkar, Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Joginder Sharma, Sanjay Bangar, Irfan Pathan.

  • Alok505 on December 11, 2012, 10:47 GMT

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/ranji-trophy-2012/content/player/324477.html

    Look at this Basant Mohanty From orissa .... He has been overlooked by selectors from Last 4 season . always among wickets ...selectors always showing theri faith to Delhi, Mumbai, Punjab , Up states ...this guy is better than awana ..atleat for test matches ...I have example ...Ishant sharma has very ordinary record as test player ...can not understand his inclusion in indian team ...Piyush Chawla ... why has been getting so favor hard to believe ..Mishra has better control over tha ball than Chawla still selectors neglects him.

  • Sumeet.Gupta on December 11, 2012, 10:08 GMT

    He simply said he has learnt a lot from IPL. Did he say he has learnt his technique in IPL? Take a life guys and give the person his deserved due. There are hell lot of things that one can learn just being around the seniors and international players in terms of attitude, preparation, reading the game, etc. Leave the poor soul alone. At last, the selectors have looked beyond Zaheer, though Ishant is still lucky to be there. But his real test should be bowling into 140s for a day long over and over and not just one off ball every now and then.

  • CricketingStargazer on December 11, 2012, 9:46 GMT

    @Rahulbose To put it in context though, when Tim Bresnan was being dismissed as a medium pace trundler, he was averaging around 135km/h! Speed is relative. 138km/h is fast-medium, but it's a start.

  • Dhanno on December 10, 2012, 22:08 GMT

    haha @ landl47, i didnt even care to notice what this fellow said, but good catch. If our test prospects (who are giving "timely performances" according to cricinfo) are learning from IPL, then god cant save test cricket. He will play 2 games if at all and be forgotten soon.

    On a side note this is just in: Ravindra Jadeja is not only the first batsman to score 3 first class triple hundreds for India, but he is also the first to score then while sleeping. Yes new footage shows that the pitch and the bowling was so dead, batsman felt asleep but still ended up hitting 300. Now thats a test prospect!

  • Rahulbose on December 10, 2012, 20:47 GMT

    I was really interested until the 138kph clocking part. Best wishes to him, hope he succeeds where so many of the Indian medium pacers have failed.

  • AjitDJ on December 10, 2012, 18:31 GMT

    I hope Dhoni plays Dinda and Awana in the 4th test even if it's a little risky. Ishant Sharma is totally useless now.

  • on December 10, 2012, 17:41 GMT

    Well said Ven61..couldnt agreee with you more...indian commentators arent brave ..however dada has been saying tat dhoni should step dwn from test captain...i think dada needs to be more involved with indian cricket to take it forward where he left... Cheap thinking is killing indian cricket...dhoni cannot survive test cricket unless he fixes the mountain of technical faults that is in his batting..everything thing is bottom hand for him.he is only fit for ODI and test cricket is big daddy's play ...i think rahane should be in the 11. He is the future.. Gambhir sucks as usual...his running llooks like some mental running with a bat on indian highway..not sure when he will understand.. Did you guys see the fitness of yuvraj , zaheer ,sehwag , gambhir , harbhajan.....shame on these guys on letting country down in terms of showing fitness levels on field.. People who pplay for country should give an example of fitness for younger generations...

  • Cpt.Meanster on December 10, 2012, 17:25 GMT

    Some of the comments here are SO STUPID. Why not just shut up and wish the young man well ??? Is it that difficult ? @landl47: Do you have anything positive to ever say about Indian players and Indian cricket ? Isn't Luke Wright an English man who once said he learnt a lot from the Big Bash ? Come on, enough with the hypocrisy already. @itsthewayuplay? Dude, what else do you expect from Awana ? Do you want him to say that he learned a lot from people whom he never met or played with before ? What's wrong with all you people ? Wish the man well or simply be quiet.

  • N.SHURESH on December 12, 2012, 12:35 GMT

    Selectors must consider the player's current form. Past performance/ Form wont help to win current matches. Choose from Ranji Matches. There are plenty of players performing consistently well with commitment. Better than current fixed asset Indian XI players. (Whether performing or not they can remain in the playing XI as much as their wish)

  • N.SHIV on December 12, 2012, 12:18 GMT

    Indian team looking for a Fast Bowling Allrounder for a long time. Why cant give a chance to RISHI DAWAN (Himachal Pradesh)? Just 22 Years old & performing exceptional well with bat & Bowl in the on going Ranji Matches. scored 3 centuries from 6 matches & 2 Five wickets haul. From 21 matches more than 1000 Runs (AV. 44) & 92 Wickets(Av.25)

    Please don't label him next KAPIL DEV & spoil his carer. No one come closer to Great Kapil's fitness & performance. So many players got the next Kapil Dev label & vanished. players like Athul Wassan, Ajth Agarkar, Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Joginder Sharma, Sanjay Bangar, Irfan Pathan.

  • Alok505 on December 11, 2012, 10:47 GMT

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/ranji-trophy-2012/content/player/324477.html

    Look at this Basant Mohanty From orissa .... He has been overlooked by selectors from Last 4 season . always among wickets ...selectors always showing theri faith to Delhi, Mumbai, Punjab , Up states ...this guy is better than awana ..atleat for test matches ...I have example ...Ishant sharma has very ordinary record as test player ...can not understand his inclusion in indian team ...Piyush Chawla ... why has been getting so favor hard to believe ..Mishra has better control over tha ball than Chawla still selectors neglects him.

  • Sumeet.Gupta on December 11, 2012, 10:08 GMT

    He simply said he has learnt a lot from IPL. Did he say he has learnt his technique in IPL? Take a life guys and give the person his deserved due. There are hell lot of things that one can learn just being around the seniors and international players in terms of attitude, preparation, reading the game, etc. Leave the poor soul alone. At last, the selectors have looked beyond Zaheer, though Ishant is still lucky to be there. But his real test should be bowling into 140s for a day long over and over and not just one off ball every now and then.

  • CricketingStargazer on December 11, 2012, 9:46 GMT

    @Rahulbose To put it in context though, when Tim Bresnan was being dismissed as a medium pace trundler, he was averaging around 135km/h! Speed is relative. 138km/h is fast-medium, but it's a start.

  • Dhanno on December 10, 2012, 22:08 GMT

    haha @ landl47, i didnt even care to notice what this fellow said, but good catch. If our test prospects (who are giving "timely performances" according to cricinfo) are learning from IPL, then god cant save test cricket. He will play 2 games if at all and be forgotten soon.

    On a side note this is just in: Ravindra Jadeja is not only the first batsman to score 3 first class triple hundreds for India, but he is also the first to score then while sleeping. Yes new footage shows that the pitch and the bowling was so dead, batsman felt asleep but still ended up hitting 300. Now thats a test prospect!

  • Rahulbose on December 10, 2012, 20:47 GMT

    I was really interested until the 138kph clocking part. Best wishes to him, hope he succeeds where so many of the Indian medium pacers have failed.

  • AjitDJ on December 10, 2012, 18:31 GMT

    I hope Dhoni plays Dinda and Awana in the 4th test even if it's a little risky. Ishant Sharma is totally useless now.

  • on December 10, 2012, 17:41 GMT

    Well said Ven61..couldnt agreee with you more...indian commentators arent brave ..however dada has been saying tat dhoni should step dwn from test captain...i think dada needs to be more involved with indian cricket to take it forward where he left... Cheap thinking is killing indian cricket...dhoni cannot survive test cricket unless he fixes the mountain of technical faults that is in his batting..everything thing is bottom hand for him.he is only fit for ODI and test cricket is big daddy's play ...i think rahane should be in the 11. He is the future.. Gambhir sucks as usual...his running llooks like some mental running with a bat on indian highway..not sure when he will understand.. Did you guys see the fitness of yuvraj , zaheer ,sehwag , gambhir , harbhajan.....shame on these guys on letting country down in terms of showing fitness levels on field.. People who pplay for country should give an example of fitness for younger generations...

  • Cpt.Meanster on December 10, 2012, 17:25 GMT

    Some of the comments here are SO STUPID. Why not just shut up and wish the young man well ??? Is it that difficult ? @landl47: Do you have anything positive to ever say about Indian players and Indian cricket ? Isn't Luke Wright an English man who once said he learnt a lot from the Big Bash ? Come on, enough with the hypocrisy already. @itsthewayuplay? Dude, what else do you expect from Awana ? Do you want him to say that he learned a lot from people whom he never met or played with before ? What's wrong with all you people ? Wish the man well or simply be quiet.

  • Harinasi on December 10, 2012, 17:14 GMT

    Let him get into the test cricket and only then can we judge/comment him, I'm sure none of us commenting here has watched him live, atleast in T.V...not fair to say anything right now, let him be that promising guy who could deliver India from its shackles right now...humility and honesty are there in his tone, let's see how he shapes his career....

  • on December 10, 2012, 15:58 GMT

    still there are so many players to be removed. some players getting bonus as if they played only one good innings. captain blaming his bowlers and batsmen, wat about his peformence. after taking fletcher as couch he spoiling the team kike graig.first of all remove couch and captain. see england captain he playing infront and giving moral support to his team. cant selectors pick up few good cricters from 1000s.

  • InnocentGuy on December 10, 2012, 15:30 GMT

    In a way its good he likens the pressure of a Test match to a Ranji match. A clear and uncluttered mind makes a lot of difference.

  • Ven61 on December 10, 2012, 13:57 GMT

    My hopes for Nagpur:

    - I hope Awana plays in Nagpur, and not Dinda. - I hope Jadeja to replaces Yuvraj in the playing 11 - that will enhance bowling too. - I hope Chawla doesn't replace either of the spinners. - I hope Tendulkar does well so that he can ride into the sunset on a positive note. - I hope Pujara gets another 100. - I hope this is the last test match for Dhoni as a captain. I would like him to focus on the shorter formats, and completely opt out of test cricket (even as a wicket keeper). - I hope Indian commentators would be intellectually honest when it comes to Dhoni's captaining abilities.

  • CricketingStargazer on December 10, 2012, 13:20 GMT

    @Rohit Gupta, of course it isn't, but unless you try him you will never find out if he is good enough to take the pressure. England have the same issue with players coming out of the County Championship (where the biggest crowds are a few thousand and the intensity is much lower).

  • itsthewayuplay on December 10, 2012, 12:58 GMT

    He's learnt from Nehra how to fade away after a promising start, from Ishant how not to bother competing overseas and instead tell the opposition he's saving his best for when they come to India and from Sehwag how to perform just regularly enough for your die-hard fans and selectors to justify your automatic inclusion.

  • on December 10, 2012, 10:41 GMT

    Not to take anything away from the lad but is it fair comparing the pressure of a Ranji Trophy match to that of a test match? Its unfair to presume he'd maintain the same output with almost twice the expectation and 100 times the audience.

  • CricketingStargazer on December 10, 2012, 8:45 GMT

    Good luck to he lad! This is the sort of move that the Indian selectors should be making. However, they need to have a little patience if the pick doesn't take big wickets immediately and it remains to be seen whether or not they will.

  • on December 10, 2012, 8:04 GMT

    here we go there is no guarantee this lad will debut bt there is an article on cricinfo which causes over hype let them play and achieve anything to write an article. this trend is mainly on indian players only. if they dont play properly u will again gather this information and will say he has said like this before but didnt achieve any thing

  • ramli on December 10, 2012, 7:58 GMT

    Good luck to Awana ... I hope that he gets into the XI ... ahead of Ishant Sharma

  • Cpt.Meanster on December 10, 2012, 7:22 GMT

    A well deserved opportunity for this young man. He has excellent attributes in order to play for India. At least the Indian selectors are proving that Ranji cricket is genuine and a valid criteria in order to be picked for India. I hope this man has a wonderful test match in Nagpur. It's time for fresh new faces to wear the navy blue cap of India. I would also be delighted if Manoj Tiwary or Ajinkya Rahane get their first test cap. I see 2 debuts happening in Nagpur. Awana is a surety, who is the other ?

  • landl47 on December 10, 2012, 7:02 GMT

    Oh, dear- he's learnt a lot from the IPL. We can expect him to bowl a defensive line and length and regard it as a triumph if he keeps his economy rate below 3.5. He won't take any wickets, of course- they don't bother with things like that in the IPL.

  • baskar_guha on December 10, 2012, 6:42 GMT

    Awana seems like a hard-working talented youngster who can help whichever team he plays for. I hope he does well when he gets his day in the sun for India.

  • here2rock on December 9, 2012, 23:01 GMT

    "I've learnt a lot from my seniors, Ishant [Sharma].... I've also learnt a lot from the IPL.", now that is a scary thought!

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  • here2rock on December 9, 2012, 23:01 GMT

    "I've learnt a lot from my seniors, Ishant [Sharma].... I've also learnt a lot from the IPL.", now that is a scary thought!

  • baskar_guha on December 10, 2012, 6:42 GMT

    Awana seems like a hard-working talented youngster who can help whichever team he plays for. I hope he does well when he gets his day in the sun for India.

  • landl47 on December 10, 2012, 7:02 GMT

    Oh, dear- he's learnt a lot from the IPL. We can expect him to bowl a defensive line and length and regard it as a triumph if he keeps his economy rate below 3.5. He won't take any wickets, of course- they don't bother with things like that in the IPL.

  • Cpt.Meanster on December 10, 2012, 7:22 GMT

    A well deserved opportunity for this young man. He has excellent attributes in order to play for India. At least the Indian selectors are proving that Ranji cricket is genuine and a valid criteria in order to be picked for India. I hope this man has a wonderful test match in Nagpur. It's time for fresh new faces to wear the navy blue cap of India. I would also be delighted if Manoj Tiwary or Ajinkya Rahane get their first test cap. I see 2 debuts happening in Nagpur. Awana is a surety, who is the other ?

  • ramli on December 10, 2012, 7:58 GMT

    Good luck to Awana ... I hope that he gets into the XI ... ahead of Ishant Sharma

  • on December 10, 2012, 8:04 GMT

    here we go there is no guarantee this lad will debut bt there is an article on cricinfo which causes over hype let them play and achieve anything to write an article. this trend is mainly on indian players only. if they dont play properly u will again gather this information and will say he has said like this before but didnt achieve any thing

  • CricketingStargazer on December 10, 2012, 8:45 GMT

    Good luck to he lad! This is the sort of move that the Indian selectors should be making. However, they need to have a little patience if the pick doesn't take big wickets immediately and it remains to be seen whether or not they will.

  • on December 10, 2012, 10:41 GMT

    Not to take anything away from the lad but is it fair comparing the pressure of a Ranji Trophy match to that of a test match? Its unfair to presume he'd maintain the same output with almost twice the expectation and 100 times the audience.

  • itsthewayuplay on December 10, 2012, 12:58 GMT

    He's learnt from Nehra how to fade away after a promising start, from Ishant how not to bother competing overseas and instead tell the opposition he's saving his best for when they come to India and from Sehwag how to perform just regularly enough for your die-hard fans and selectors to justify your automatic inclusion.

  • CricketingStargazer on December 10, 2012, 13:20 GMT

    @Rohit Gupta, of course it isn't, but unless you try him you will never find out if he is good enough to take the pressure. England have the same issue with players coming out of the County Championship (where the biggest crowds are a few thousand and the intensity is much lower).