Ranji Trophy 2013-14

'Abhi nahin toh kabhi nahin'

Rajasthan's fast bowler Pankaj Singh on the desperation to represent India, and the pain of being ignored by national selectors despite consistently strong performances

Nagraj Gollapudi

January 2, 2014

Comments: 87 | Text size: A | A

It has become a norm. Every season for the past five years Rajasthan fast bowler Pankaj Singh has finished among the top wicket-takers in the Ranji Trophy. He has helped Rajasthan to successive Ranji Trophy titles in 2010-11 and 2011-12, finishing as the top and third-highest wicket-taker respectively in those years. This year, his 39 wickets puts him only behind Himachal Pradesh's Rishi Dhawan in the wicket-takers' list.

Despite the consistency Pankaj has failed to feature in any India or A side for more than three and a half years. Every year he finishes the season with one question: what more I should do. On Wednesday, after stumps, he rushed to the box where national selector Roger Binny had been sitting, to try and find the answer. Pankaj failed to meet Binny, but in the following interview he lays bare the pain of a domestic performer who is desperate for some answers.

Pankaj Singh finished with a five-for, Tamil Nadu v Rajasthan, Ranji Trophy, Group B, 2nd day, Chennai, December 23, 2013
With 39 scalps, Pankaj Singh is the leading wicket-taker in the top tiers of the Ranji Trophy this season © ESPNcricinfo Ltd

On Wednesday, immediately after the day's play, you walked into the box where Roger Binny, the national selector, was watching the match from. Why did you do that and, though Binny had already left, was it the first time you had done something like that?

It was the first time I had wanted to go and talk directly to a selector. I knew this was Rajasthan's last match of our Ranji season, and so I knew we would not be able to meet anywhere else. I wanted to know what are the things I should do (to get picked for the national squad), what is going wrong with me. That was because I wanted to get an answer as to what else I could do to get there because I want to be there (in the Indian team).

How tough is it to keep performing and yet not get to know what exactly the selectors are thinking?

Ultimately I want to play for the country, a dream, a goal virtually every domestic player aspires to at some point. Now steadily as my age is increasing, I have started to doubt whether I would be able to reach that dream. Also the criteria which are needed to make the India team, which I have been achieving in domestic cricket in the last four years, and still if the selection is not happening then I would obviously like to know what more I should do.

The other option is to keep silent and continue playing which I have been doing. But my intention was to understand exactly why I am being sidelined or if they have given up on me. Then if that is the case I do not need to fight within myself or with people/things, then I can just calm down and plan my future. And if the selectors say that we have seen enough of you and we are not going to select you then I don't need to put myself under pressure each time hoping my name would be included every time a selection meeting happens.

I know that every year I cannot perform the way I have in the last four years. I am going to turn 29 so the age is going to soon turn against me. I know I can still play for four to five more years. And if I am just left to play domestic cricket, then my goals would not be that strong. And without goals I would not be able to put in this kind of effort, hard work and perform.

But in 2010-11, when Rajasthan won their first Ranji Trophy I was 26. I had taken 53 wickets that first-class season. I had many expectations considering India were going to tour many places like West Indies and England. So many other fast bowlers were picked and replaced others who were injured or unfit. But I never was included. So now I have reached a stage where I have started to think: abhi nahin toh kabhi nahin (if not now then maybe never). If it is khatam (end) then maybe I could even leave playing cricket possibly in two years. So these were the questions I wanted to ask.

Was it a mix of fear and anger that drove you to take that call to meet the selector?

Possibly. The Indian selection system has predominantly never given chances to a bowler over 30. Since four years I have waited ab mera number aayega, ab mera number aayega. Nahin aa rahan hein (My chance would come. It has not come). So even if I speak to someone it might not come and the selector might even get angry, or someone might inform me the areas I am falling short of. At least this way I could improve or at least I would tell myself that I did my best and only then I left.

Were you optimistic about a call-up for the New Zealand tour?

Definitely. Not just this time, but last year when we were playing in Kolkata against Bengal in our Ranji season opener, I picked nine wickets. A national selector, who was present, walked upto me and said I had bowled really well. I was expecting a call-up for the home Test series against England but I did not get included. Till now I have no idea where I fell short. Even the selector appreciated my performance. Then in Mohali, against Punjab, the same selector said I was doing well. Even this season I started slow but started to get wickets steadily. At the start of this season I did not believe my name would be discussed. I knew I was not being counted in the top 10 fast bowlers in the country considering I had not been called for any A tour or Emerging Trophy series or even a national camp for fast bowlers.

But the selector might have just said that to encourage you?

I know that is not bad. But if a selector is encouraging me, I am doing well, and I am (still) nowhere. These are the people who are going to pick you in the team, make your career. Even this season, in Chennai against Tamil Nadu I took a five-for, all top-order wickets. Sandeep Patil (national selection panel chairman) while taking a walk said, "very well bowled. Good bowling." I did not say anything. As a player I can only perform and that I am doing from the last four years.

"Why would I like to continue to play if I am not going to play for India. I am not going to play just for money. I have earned enough and invested in the right places. Every player has a reason to continue playing"

Say if a selector calls up and informs you that you are not part of our plans. What will you do?

I will play maximum of one or two years then. Simple. Why would I like to continue to play if I am not going to play for India. I am not going to play just for money. I have earned enough and invested in the right places. Every player has a reason to continue playing. A good player does not hang in just to earn money. The main thing is dedication towards the job. Say if I had been picked and not performed then I would be angry to prove myself and play for another four or five years.

Can you talk about the challenges a player like you goes through when not part from the Indian set-up?

The biggest challenge is you are unable to decide what you should. You doubt whether your state association is weaker and not promoting you. Then sometimes you doubt if selectors are backing a player(s) from a particular zone. No player wants to think such questions. When you are performing you do not want to raise such doubts in your head. But if the same questions keep repeating in my mind then I am bound to doubt the system.

So how do you motivate yourself?

It because of the meeting my dream, the zid (stubbornness). Having come from a small place, Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, to this place where I am now, I do not want to give up.

What are the things you have worked on in the interim?

Many times I heard I was not quick, so I worked on my pace. But importantly started first by working on my fitness and strengthening to make sure I was bowling at lively pace. In the last two years even I felt I was bowling quick - consistently 135kph. Barring Umesh Yadav, show me one fast bowler in India who has bowled consistently over 140kph. I have tried to tick every checkbox a selector thinks with regard to a fast bowler.

There is a feeling that your age was a factor, as you could not be picked for an A team where opportunities need to be given to youth primarily. But is it not unfair on you considering you are almost the same age as some players who have been on A tours in recent years?

Yes. But right from when I was 26, I have never been considered or included. There are other players like Vinay Kumar and RP Singh, Dhawal Kulkarni who are around my age and still have played or been included in the squad. I am not nitpicking. Some of these guys have played more cricket than me, but my numbers show I am doing much better than many other fast bowlers.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Naresh28 on (January 6, 2014, 12:53 GMT)

WELL AT LEAST THE PICTURE says it all. Here is an Indian pace bowler with a strong, fit looking body. in test cricket we need bowlers who can bowl many overs and at least Pankaj and the new bowler Pandey have the build. We need to not discard Umesh Yadav and rather have a coach should work on him.

Posted by JyothiRaj on (January 6, 2014, 9:58 GMT)

All you have to do is look at the weakness of Indian bowlers,,none of them are good when compare to foreign bowlers.Indian bowlers are not threatening while bowling a bouncer or yorker.Death bowling in ODIs are so cheap.So please work on this and become a threatening bowler like Malinga who can crush the toe with his yorkers.Have great control on your line and length,master reverse swing and late s wing

Posted by Temuzin on (January 6, 2014, 4:12 GMT)

My advice to Pankaj is not to lose heart. Change your Ranji team and make a list of good batsmen (those playing for India) and try to bounce them out. Forget taking wickets, your only aim should be to hurt them on the field. Remember Thommo of Australia, who once said I want to see blood on the cricket pitch. Therefore, You should practice to bolw steep bouncers and good yorkers and terrorize them break a few bones on the field and you will be selected. Go get them son and you will be selected.

Posted by   on (January 5, 2014, 18:16 GMT)

Pankaj you are really good, no doubt, I used to watch and monitor the ranji sessions, especially for you in the wicket takers list and you never failed me, as your name always appear in the list but not in the playing 11 for India. Pankaj remember one thing we are in India you will not get a chance by just putting an effort alone, we always stick to some hell bowlers like Ishant, Vinay, mohit, umesh etc.., I still strongly believe you will not go worse than these bowlers. if we have Rishi Dhawan, Pankaj Singh, Ishwar Pandey, Jaddu and Ashwin bowling in NewZealand it will be dare good to watch. But nothing like this will happen in reality so sad Indiia, all our best wishes are there with you pankaj always.

Posted by   on (January 5, 2014, 16:44 GMT)

They ignored Ranadeb Bose at his peak, now they keep,ignoring Pankaj Singh. Got to feel for these stalwarts of Indian Cricket. Thank u Cricinfo for recognising players of Pankaj's ilk.

Posted by Hindhustani on (January 5, 2014, 3:43 GMT)

Since Srinivasan is against Rajasthan Cricket Association, No state player will be selected to national team. Hence Pankaj singh should opt to move to other ranji state team like UP to get picked in national team.Otherwise he will waste his talent and time. He should act fast, since he is aging.This is not correct , but unfortunately this is the only option he got. I hope some one conveys this message to him.Change state team.

Posted by Emancipator007 on (January 5, 2014, 2:58 GMT)

This is the kind of desperation that Abhijeet Kale (he was considered Big 3 of Bombay batting along with SRT/Kambli in late'80s & reputedly had best defensive batting technique) felt which made him go astray. Others include Amol Mujumder, Shivalkar, Bhaskar Pillai,Hans,Sugwekar etc. And especially so when India plays so many internationals now (including T20s) unlike past when many international fixtures were not available to blood superb domestic performers. U can bet/sense that if he is selected, Pankaj will channelize that angst to crank up his pace/ability with sheer willpower (like Imran/Akthar used to do) & help India win ODIs at least. Wud suggest Rajasthan cricket to sponsor his training under same trainer which Zak utilized in France. That will make his body fitter, stronger & generate more pace in air/off wicket to go with his already natural lift/bounce. SELECT HIM & channelize his anger.Selectors shud be psychologists too.

Posted by   on (January 4, 2014, 22:22 GMT)

It is unfortunate that Pankaj Singh was not selected. He was in Australia but then was not considered after that. Why?. If we take a look at Praveen Kumar, RIP Singh (May he rest in peace), Vinay Kumar, Joginder Sharma, Bhuv Kumar, the latest one, had problems with pace. If you have to be a opening bowler, you have to be a superman. You need be well built, strong, athletic and fit. In addition to that you pace and accuracy as well. The latest toll on Yadav is he is not accurate. Given that consideration Pankaj Singh has everything but lacked a bit of pace and accuracy. He was a 7 footer but pace, accuracy, swing and seam was lacking, but so did the others in some way. So he was unfortunate compared to some of them who got selected. The complete fast bowler is rare since India is number one in ODIs. Varun Aaron could be the only one who could be the next superman we are looking for.

Posted by Temuzin on (January 4, 2014, 19:39 GMT)

@ Lija Binu, Loved your comment. I think he just needs to change his name to Pankaj Sharma to get selected. Rohit and Ishant Sharmas have gotten more chances than everybody else combined.

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (January 4, 2014, 15:37 GMT)

Sorry Pankaj - You are not the son of a national selector, neither do you play for "lucky" teams like CSK, Mumbai, Delhi or Saurashtra. All you can do is keep trying. We know you are better than the likes of Stuart Binny, Ishant Sharma, Mohit Sharma, Unadkat, Vinay Kumar, etc., but we don't have any say in the selection process.

Posted by ProdigyA on (January 4, 2014, 3:44 GMT)

Sorry Pankaj, you r not the son of any national selector so u can't be picked. Only the likes of Stuart Binny who is slower, shorter and no where near you can be picked.

Posted by   on (January 4, 2014, 2:53 GMT)

only way Pankaj singh to get into team India is change his name to Pankaj sharma, Pankaj Pandey, Pankaj shulka etc..

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (January 3, 2014, 23:35 GMT)

Agree with @Capricorn60 - I would prefer if our selectors give a new bowler like Pankaj Singh a chance than persist with perennial failures like Ishant Sharma !! After all he can't be worse than the likes of Ishant Sharma, Mohit Sharma, Unadkat or Vinay Kumar.

Posted by Temuzin on (January 3, 2014, 20:53 GMT)

Its really disgusting to see selectors keeping eternal failures like Ishant sharma in the team and not even trying most wicket taking bowler in the Ranji for five seasons. Come on give the lad a chance to prove himself at the highest level.

Posted by pull_shot on (January 3, 2014, 18:53 GMT)

Its really sad to c IPL performances dominating Ranji performances, Mohit sharma had 1 year og good ipl he is given chance, but reality is up to now IPL didn't produce one fast bowler

Posted by buntyj on (January 3, 2014, 18:50 GMT)

to be fair the best 7 seamers in india today on current form appear to be shami, yadav, bhuvneshwar, sharath, dhawan, pandey and, if fit, aaron; of these only yadav and aaron are 140+ but pandey could compete with shami, while dhawan n sharath appear to be a little quicker than bhuvneshwar

Posted by IndCricFan2013 on (January 3, 2014, 15:55 GMT)

India/BCCI should also think about having 100% different teams for test cricket, ODI and T20. Except for Kohli, no one really qualify in all teams currently. Test cricket team should play test cricket year around and ODI and T20 team should schedule on their own with out looking at Test schedule. They could still schdule with out overlap for the viewers and but there is no need space days between test and ODI, a test can be played in SA and a ODI can be played in India. For example some one like Kohli can play in all formats as his schedule and priority permits. Dhoni could be a captain for ODI/T20 and Pujara could captain the test team. We need to look beyhind individual player records and such...

Posted by Capricorn60 on (January 3, 2014, 14:22 GMT)

Even though I don't know that much about Pankaj Singh, I rather we give a new bowler like him a chance than persist with perennial failures like Ishant Sharma!

Posted by azhar_ahmed1 on (January 3, 2014, 11:47 GMT)

worthy bowler desperately deserves a chance in the indian team

Posted by CiranoCornell on (January 3, 2014, 11:22 GMT)

all sympathies to pankaj i ma sure he worked hard for it and but i guess this is getting little more emotional than what it appears, i am sure there were/ are more pankaj's stating the same thing around the domestic circuit .@Vinay critics , what you guys don't know or ignorant are Vinay was the leading wicket taker for few seasons , which i guess u guys don't believe, please do you home work and please have constructive criticism and not blindly state something.

Posted by bmani27 on (January 3, 2014, 10:41 GMT)

Worth to note that Ashwin and Pankaj debuted in the same match. Shows how much Pankaj has been waiting.

Posted by caught_knott_bowled_old on (January 3, 2014, 9:03 GMT)

One can sympathize with Pankaj Singh, but the fact is neither he nor any of the other pace bowlers are anywhere near what the Indian team needs at this time. So, this guy can be given a chance, no harm. Its not going to make the bowling any weaker than it already is.

Posted by   on (January 3, 2014, 8:59 GMT)

Yeah , He deserved to get a chance. He is better than Ishant,vinay,Unadkat and the fading Zaheer.

Posted by RajeshNaik on (January 3, 2014, 8:39 GMT)

Unfortunately our selectors have become increasingly IPL centric. They attach no value to domestic performance. They attend the Ranji matches because BCCI has made it mandatory. Pankaj is an asset in the longer version of the game. But for all his hard work he may end up getting selected for ODIs and then after 1-2 failures may get sidelined. Hope the Lalit Modi factor is not playing a part here in Pankaj's non selection. Vinay Kumar is playing for India solely because of his performance in IPL. Vinay is clever in knowing this fact and puts his best effort and ends up as the highest wicket taker among Indians in IPL and gets in to the Indian team. Until and unless the selectors learn to give importance to Ranji trophy performance players like Pankaj and Badrinath and others like them will continue to wonder 'why?'.

Posted by rusty.booty on (January 3, 2014, 8:34 GMT)

for every vinay there must be some deserving being sacrificed.

Posted by navneethp on (January 3, 2014, 7:54 GMT)

this is what he needs to do :-

take a break from Ranji Trophy siting personal reasons

Go to France train just like Zak and Yuvi did

prepare well for the coming IPL

get into goodbooks of the management of some struggling IPL teams like Kings XI or Delhi Daredevils so that he gets selected in playing XI in IPL

Bowl the 4 overs as if his life depends on it. Try bowling at 140-145 kmph

Try hitting big sixes ala Chris Gayle whenever you get to bat

Perfect the art of bowling yorkers at pace and perfect face directed bouncers

IPL performance cannot go un-noticed even an oldy Praveen Tambe's performance was well noticed

India is struggling for a death bowler and Pankaj could be the answer if he perfects yorkers at 140 kmph

if you are still ignored then go to english county or go to Ireland. Try getting Irish citizenship and get into Ireland team. If you excel there most probably you will play for English team and then will get a chance to thrash India 4-0 when they come to England

Posted by   on (January 3, 2014, 7:36 GMT)

First of all I would like to congratulate Nagraj Gollapudi for coming up with such a wonderful piece of Interview with a Star performer like Pankaj Singh. It is being very sad that he has not been selected to any form of Indian Team over the years. Why Ishant Sharma is being giving a long run in Team India without any consistent performance? Only praises by selectors and no selection. This bowler is a consistent performer for Rajasthan and none from that state team is not represented Indian cricket team for some years now.

Posted by Naresh28 on (January 3, 2014, 7:33 GMT)

ALL FAST BOWLERS in INDIA should be put in a pool and trained at an Academy with specialist coach. They should have a pitch specially to gauge their performance, accuracy, pace, strength, styles etc. These players should be pitted against each other - every now and then before a foreign trip, the batsman and these bowlers should play a match. Not only will we gauge the batsman but also the bowlers - the selection of fast bowlers for a tour should come from here. Propose a all under one roof strategy. They could also form a team to play against Ranji teams.

Posted by ultimatewarrior on (January 3, 2014, 7:19 GMT)

@Chirag Pathak had raised all valid 6 pts.......i guess pankaj is not getting selected due to....(1)non performance in IPL...many players in Indian Team are very wrongly getting selected or sacked for T20 performances even for TEST/ODI(2)being Rajasthan player, he is affected by the clash of Titans i.e. BCCI & Lalit Modi......he can change team(3)I agree he has to work bit more on fitness........I will request selectors....pls give him chance atleast in India A tours....and drop ISHANT atleast in TEST immediately FOREVER (compare his stats in test/odi)

Posted by Naresh28 on (January 3, 2014, 7:18 GMT)

The FACT that there was a selector watching could mean something. Just keep performing - I feel your chance is round the corner.

Posted by   on (January 3, 2014, 7:12 GMT)

Maybe Ishant and Vinay got more chances. Poor Pankaj had just once chance and failed to impress. There are host of players who would join in that list. Sometimes you should be lucky as well.

Posted by buntyj on (January 3, 2014, 7:06 GMT)

both pankaj and dinda were unfortunate not to be selected and given a decent run, perhaps not entirely for cricketing reasons when you consider the opportunities given to ishant and lesser extent, vinay; but neither did they take advantage of the limited sporadic opportunities they did get. with aarons return emergence of sharath and anupreet it will be more difficult, and medium pacers like mohit n dhawan -though unlike spinners pacers should get a relatively early break

Posted by RickMiranda on (January 3, 2014, 7:02 GMT)

The Rajasthan Cricket Association...is at logger heads with BCCI...poor Pankaj...who I have been watching for the last several years...is a victim of this feud. Varun Aaron, who is just back from injury and has not been effective ...at all this season ...has got a call up !!...because he plays for Jarhkhand !! So it does not matter what the selectors want..they will be overruled by BCCI. I am wondering...how Dhoni makes the cut to the Indian test team. Look at his batting, wicket keeping performance...pathetic.... So should a sub par Dhoni be included in the team...I say no....

Posted by   on (January 3, 2014, 6:12 GMT)

I have seen him bowl at the ground in domestic games, he is an impressive bowler. Not much pace but get steep bounce like Lonwabo TSotsobe does with his height.

The irony is if "Ishant The Spearhead" can get so many chances years after years, we can't they give this lad a chance?

Posted by   on (January 3, 2014, 6:12 GMT)

Dont know if our bowlers with physique like him cant touch 150 and consitently bowl 140+ then who else can.As much as he is experienced he need not to be naive and acceept what is wrong with him..Pace.

Posted by   on (January 3, 2014, 6:09 GMT)

He is a good bowler and you have to feel sorry for him.But At the same time i think fast bowlers like him really need to put effort in their bowling in terms of pace.We have seen no matter how talented you are if you lack pace at some point in your career you become useless.There have been countless examples for this.Not everyone bowler can be Mcgrath.You cant expect to survive at international stage if you start the test match bowling at 130+ speed and drop to only 120+ as the match proceeds.And i think the selectors have realized this thats why they are concerntrating more on guys like shami,yadav and aaron,understandably so.

Posted by   on (January 3, 2014, 5:45 GMT)

You have got to feel for this guy! His #s in domestic Cricket stack up very well! Seems to bowl well against strong Ranji teams but yet does not seem to have a Godfather in Indian Cricket. He cannot be any worse than Vinay Kumar, Ishant Sharma who have been given so many chances and yet seem to keep coming back!

Posted by   on (January 3, 2014, 5:42 GMT)

I want to ask the selectors..."What the hell is Ishant Sharma doing in the team after so many failures?" Analysts are consistently showing that his wrist position in bad and that's why he does not get pace or swing. He has not learnt in all these years. He is the next Ajit Agarkar of Indian cricket who even after playing international cricket for a decade did not know how to bowl.

Posted by venkatesh018 on (January 3, 2014, 5:33 GMT)

Pankaj is one the unsung heroes of domestic cricket who has the skill, determination and moreover the burning desire to play for the national team. Once again he has been unfairly discarded, while lesser bowlers have got their opportunity. He deserves a place in the Test team to New Zealand.

Posted by   on (January 3, 2014, 5:18 GMT)

only obstancles for pankaj is his pace, so buddy pl. gear up with your pace to 140+, surely you will have a look for national selection

Posted by guptahitesh4u on (January 3, 2014, 5:17 GMT)

This guy has every rights to be angry!!

Posted by pvwadekar on (January 3, 2014, 5:13 GMT)

You really feel for this guy. Has been performing consistently in the domestic season taking wickets by the bunch. Last group of selectors led by Krish Srikanth were partial to players from Southern India -- eg Mithun and Vinaky Kumar getting too many chances. And now, Ishant Sharma is playing in tests despite doing anything meaningful (zero wickets in the last test Vs SA). How many wickets does Pankaj Singh needs to get to atleast earn a call up to the international side ? Hopefully he can get some answers and get some peace. Forget about the selectors if they are unwilling to help you. move on ahead with other things in you life.

Posted by akd_moves on (January 3, 2014, 5:10 GMT)

Pankaj Singh was part of the Indian squad to Australia once I think as part of the selectors development programme. After that he has fallen of the selectors radar. Somebody with his physique needs to consistently bowl at 140-145 kmph. Plus, it seems it is the youth first policy of selectors. But then, in the modern era what is 28 for an age. He should be given a chance if Vinay Kumar and Ashoke Dinda are being given chances. Good luck Pankaj! Keep trying .... as the saying goes - "who knows?"

Posted by Sir_Ivor on (January 3, 2014, 5:03 GMT)

I wish people would understand that when you have a pace bowler even in the 130-135 category who is accurate and has the necessary swinging skills and other related variations he can get wickets as Bhuvi and Praveen have shown. Pankaj Singh too has these abilities as he has shown year after year in domestic games on different kinds of wickets. The crucial thing about him is that he is 6'-5" tall. That means the ball is released from 10 ft. That makes the ball bounce much more than that the shorter bowlers can. Just as an illustration I would like to illustrate through the great Curtley Ambrose.He was 6'-7" tall, which is 2 inches taller than Pankaj Singh is. Now Amrose was very fast in his early days i.e the 145kmph category and delivered the ball from that great hieght. He was very successful even when he began, But then because of some injury he reduced his pace to the 135kmph category and he was even more lethal. I believe that Pankaj Singh can be very good if given a chance now.

Posted by OnionDosa on (January 3, 2014, 4:53 GMT)

This guy is a fantastic bowler and he has troubled the international batsmen in the IPL too.when Mohit Sharma can get a chance in the Indian side after 1 'decent' IPL,why not Pankaj Singh who has regularly been in the top 5 for the past 3 or 4 seasons?? and then they say India doesn't have good bowlers!! NZ conditions would have been perfect for a guy like Pankaj Singh.... but still,the Indian selectors do not want to leave the once in a blue moon performer Ishant Sharma!! This is ridiculous!!Congrats Indian selectors... you have successfully destroyed the career of an excellent fast bowler!

Posted by balaji28 on (January 3, 2014, 4:49 GMT)

If you are a cricketer you should have played for mumbai or karnataka or delhi otherwise it's hard to make a indian team and some exemptions left like shami.I feel so sad for pankaj singh and he is such a highly talented bowler.Please selectors open your eyes and pour your blessings on pankaj singh. Ishant sharma is being selected regularly even if he fails regularly while bowlers of such potential like pankaj singh won't even get a single ooportunity which he deserves.

Posted by   on (January 3, 2014, 4:38 GMT)

its very sad. bowlers like ishant, Vinay, mohit etc are getting selected repeatedly without any sort of talent. and now stuart binny gt selected with influence .rohit dhawan for me looks a good alrounder if irfan pathan is not fit.

i think only reason pankaj is not getting highlighted is because of Pace. if he had bowled 140+ consistently he would hv selected.but having said that he pointed out that except umesh no one bowls around that mark...

but still if he can bowl at that pace, he can still get his chances purely on his talent

Posted by yadavharish on (January 3, 2014, 4:19 GMT)

pankaj u are doing very well consistently but it is selector politics which is stopping u. keep it up .your time will come

Posted by   on (January 3, 2014, 3:51 GMT)

Pankaj your place is taken by stuart binny.

Posted by   on (January 3, 2014, 3:27 GMT)

dont loose your hope....god bless you

Posted by   on (January 3, 2014, 3:24 GMT)

Chirag Pathak - What do you have against Vijay - Gautam had more than a fair number of chances, just go check out and records, compare it with Vijay's & then talk.

Posted by   on (January 3, 2014, 3:18 GMT)

very sad pankaj singh is a best bowler

Posted by   on (January 3, 2014, 3:14 GMT)

Could it be because he is from Rajasthan where Lalit Modi was part of of administration?

Posted by   on (January 3, 2014, 3:14 GMT)

wait for Binny junior to get retire. obviously that's Roger's son.

Posted by   on (January 3, 2014, 2:43 GMT)

I would like to thank everyone who commented here supporting Pankaj as I was at a loss to understand why he has not been picked / even considered. every time when team gets selected I looked for his name but ... I don't know wats happening with selectors

Posted by   on (January 3, 2014, 2:26 GMT)

Simplest answer is..He does not have any BACKING from his state association or any powerful personality like others do.

Posted by   on (January 3, 2014, 1:19 GMT)

Pace is definitely the problem.If he is so determined to prove himself , should bowl at pace. 140+. Take it as a challange dont quit

Posted by ChiragPathak on (January 3, 2014, 0:46 GMT)

. I have to accept you are a bravo person. You just literally expose bad politics in Indian Cricket/BCCI

You are right that you are better than RPSingh, Vinay Kumar and many more but you have no god father ina BCCI. Look How many chances Rohit got, with out performing anything.

ANOTHER EXAMPLES (1) Pujara is not getting chance in ODI (2)Rahane is better than Raina but still on a waiting list (3) How Gambhir is ignored and Vijay is considered (4) How Aswin's place is cemented in a team (5) Manoj tiwary still waiting for a chance even after coming out of a injury (Never played after making century) (6) How irfan pathan is handled in country where hard to find all rounders

So keep exposing bad politics in a cricket Mr.Pankaj Singh....YOU HAVE DONE RIGHT ! !

Posted by ashok16 on (January 3, 2014, 0:10 GMT)

There are so many variables that wickets in Ranji alone cannot mean much. For example some teams play in weaker sections (eg. Rishi Dhawan this season) while others might face weaker opponents. Even an opponent like Mumbai might be strong in batting with Rahane and Rohit in the team and really weak when they leave. And of course the National team players dont play Ranji. The ideal solution to know who is good and who is bad is to ensure the national team players are available atleast in the last two rounds of Ranji and the knockouts. It is not too much to ask. On the hand I wonder if statistics from a smaller tournament like the Duleep trophy or the Challenger trophy (where more of the contenders go head to head) can be used to determine say, if Ishwar Pandey is really better than Pankaj Singh. A third alternative is for a well regarded cricinfo columnist to come out and say, are Pandey, Shami, and Bhuvaneshwar really better than Pankaj Singh and why? At least it will start a debate.

Posted by   on (January 2, 2014, 23:26 GMT)

i dare say, is it the BCCI relationship with Rajasthan a and HP crick associations a hindrance for Pankaj and Rishi Dhawan being ignore ??? if thats case shame on you BCCI.....A bowler who has been topping the charts consistently for last 4-5 years is being ignored just because of regional politics.....sad state of cricket

Posted by Mr_Anonymous on (January 2, 2014, 21:29 GMT)


This seems like a desperate move on your part to go public with your question. You did get 1 chance in 2010 to play in a ODI. You did not take any wickets in that match. I do understand that 1 match is not an adequate measure of your talent. I also do understand your frustration.

Help your team get to the Ranji final (and if possible win it) with your performances. Improve your bowling strike rate. Then sit back and hope for the best. India's pace bowling is a weak link and some chances will come. If a chance comes in the next 1-2 years grab it with both hands.

Right now, even Umesh Yadav who is probably the fastest bowler in the country and has taken 5 wkts in a Test in Australia is confusingly not being selected (although he is coming back from an injury, so that is a likely factor).

It would be nice if national selectors provided feedback to the top 5 bowlers and batsmen and maybe top 3 all-rounders based on Ranji performances every year. Hope someone is listening.

Posted by LegSpinBowlr on (January 2, 2014, 21:21 GMT)

I think if he performs well in IPL he might get noticed more faster, Ashwin is not a great bowler in domestic but still managed to get in the Indian side, similarly so many Ipl stars like Yusuf pathan, Ashok Dinda, Abhimanyu Mithun, have made through to Indian team through IPL. Try making a good impression in the oncoming IPL bro , All da best

Posted by   on (January 2, 2014, 20:23 GMT)

I have been a fan, a well wisher for Pankaj Singh for a long time, but it seems the fans and his well wishers wont help him get into Team India. I can fully understand his frustration and anger, I feel it also for him. However I would say dont QUIT the game keep going, for the love of the game forget the money aspect, its BCCI's loss and Team India's real loss that one of its top domestic performers in the past five years has never got his dues at the International level.

Not to digress but Pankaj's case and Shikhar Dhawan's case isnt really that different although latter got his chance and grabbed it with both hands. So there is hope yet Pankaj so dont give up yet, if there is any fairness and justice in Indian cricket than Pankaj Singh will get his chance and when he does I am sure he will show selectors how wrong they were for keeping him out for so long!!

KEEP the FAITH we are with you dost!!!

Posted by   on (January 2, 2014, 20:19 GMT)

This guy is tall and well built. Ishant is too skinny to maintain speed. Pankaj can also bowl short, rising deliveries asnd swing the ball at 135-140. Unadkat and Vinay Kumar are too small to be international fast bowlers.

Posted by   on (January 2, 2014, 19:13 GMT)

Pankaj -If you are reading this comment of mine...pls spend few more mins, it may change your life

" A player asked Gavaskar asked this question...which you have ...I have done everything and I am still knocking the doors of selection for many many years..what more can I do...and He Said...Keep knocking the doors of selection harder than the one before til the DOOR breaks down and selectors will have no choice to see and not ignore you...

Take Heart from Ajinkya Rahane who has been in team15 since 2011 but eight players debuted ahead of him before he played fourth test Against Aus and was duly dropped and Rohit debuted instead. We all know who impressed most in SA!

So, please DON'T QUIT

When things go wrong as they sometimes will When the road you are trudging seems all uphill When you want to smile but have to sigh ..You never can tell how close you are It may be near when it seems so far Dont give up though the pace seems slow You may succeed with another blow! Don't you Quit!

Posted by strike_hard on (January 2, 2014, 18:24 GMT)

Feel sorry for him. Others have got a chance with a much inferior performances in domestic cricket. If domestic form was a criteria then he should have been picked ahead of Unadkat and Mohit Sharma for sure, and even Ishant, Umesh and Aaron who don't have stellar domestic performances to back theor selection in the first place. The only thing going against him is age and that too shouldn't have been the concern in 2010. I think selectors can't select him now cos it will be sort of admission of the mistake of not selecting him earlier. Definitely could have got A tour and chances against weaker teams

Posted by bhushanB on (January 2, 2014, 18:09 GMT)

I doubt if he has done any good with his chances of getting picked by going public.... Selectors may now say.. if they pick him up.. that will open a new can of worms.. where every domestic bowler and batsmen may go public and ask why he is not picked.... players like Rishi Dhawan, etc.... or at least the top 5 in batting and bowling in the ranji's will start doing the same.....

I have not seen much of Ranji or your bowling... so I cannot really say much....other than Good Luck!!

Posted by ToTellUTheTruth on (January 2, 2014, 18:04 GMT)

Admire his courage. There is no issue with a successful player asking a selector what he needs to do more to get noticed. Really cannot believe that the selectors could not pick him for even the A side. Patil...can you answer the young man?

Posted by   on (January 2, 2014, 18:02 GMT)

hard luck mate but never give up, you will definitely get a chance you should maintain the aggression you showed in the match against baroad , you should show it in every match till you are picked and then when you are picked it should continue. for a fast bowler like you aggression and pace are the we pones. not that i will show my anger only in one match and again i will leave it.

Posted by   on (January 2, 2014, 17:33 GMT)

Its really sad that talented guys like pankaj singh and rishi dhawan have not been selected and mediocre guys like mithun, vinay, unadkat, ishant are being given chances ahead of him.....moreover the selectors hope india do well in overseas conditions when such stupid selections are being made...really hoped these former players would do a good job stepping in the shoes of selector....but each one keeps disappointing...

Posted by   on (January 2, 2014, 17:31 GMT)

Definitely better than the Abhimanyu Mithuns,RP Singhs,Unadkats and Vinay Kumars....Why cannot we try him for even one match??? Even against Zimbabwe....It really hurts to see him being ignored even from India A since 2007 despite top performances in Ranji trophy...And then they ask WHere are the fast bowlers?

Posted by TNAmarkFromIndia on (January 2, 2014, 17:29 GMT)

This is extremely unfair for Pankaj Singh. Especially when guys that are getting picked like Ishant Sharma, Vinay Kumar and Jaydev Unadkat and many others over the years have done horribly for India. What do you have to lose by picking him? The guy has certainly earned a place in the team.

Posted by cricketanand12 on (January 2, 2014, 17:27 GMT)

I really appreciate and admire him but unfortunately ,we are helpless and we can't do much. But another case is there are millions of cricketers in the country and we stick to those who are so called talented but never performed up to the mark .Ishant can be called talented but not enough talented to represent a nation of over one billion people. He isnt the perfect bowler. We need to produce bowlers.they won't come on their own. We shouldn't compromise with any dibbley dobbley.Best of luck Pankaj for your future .may this new year be really happy for you and don't give you much to complaints.I am seeing your debut coming.

Posted by   on (January 2, 2014, 17:21 GMT)

i thing he should be included in indian team. consiering indian bowlin is weak. request selectors to pick him please.

Posted by   on (January 2, 2014, 17:14 GMT)

Yes, he definately deserves a chance. I was expecting him to be in the squad on the tour of New Zeland even more than him after the way Morkel performed against india. I still believe if he up 5 km speed up he will be leathel.

Posted by NP_NY on (January 2, 2014, 17:00 GMT)

This guy has a first class bowling average of 25 compared to Ishant's 32. What the heck is wrong with the Indian selectors?! He is only 28, he can play for a good 4-5 years if picked!

Posted by kaplish202 on (January 2, 2014, 16:51 GMT)

seiously,he is a good bowler.i also donot understand the logic behind his non selection.he is very good bowler and also leading wicket taker.god bless him with a berth in indian squad...

Posted by Night.angel on (January 2, 2014, 16:46 GMT)

@Raj, its a desperate man out there. Can't blame him . Mediocre bowlers like Undadkat, vinay with no pace got the nod ahead of him. Even I.sharma whose avg is horrifying 47 in away test game still continues to be picked just because he got height. THere is an ideal replacement for I.sharma who has height but more importantly have the ability to take wickets gets ignored again and again. Frustating.

Posted by   on (January 2, 2014, 16:26 GMT)

One can understand the frustration of Pankaj. He has been in the top of the domestic bowlers list in the country since last 4 years, but never got selected for India 'A team at least. If selectors don't consider domestic performances, why to waste money on Ranji matches. They can replace Ranji matches with their favourite his and miss cricket. Pankaj, Please go to some England county cricket. At least you will get some satisfaction.

Posted by   on (January 2, 2014, 16:22 GMT)

He should definitely given a chance as Vinay kumar and A Mithun have been given. There has to be some reward for consistent performance in domestic cricket. Reminds me of the time in the past when Abey Kuruvilla was picked far too late

Posted by   on (January 2, 2014, 16:16 GMT)

Very out spoken guy. May be this is one of the reason why he is not picking for the squad. This is the second time he is giving an open statement like this.. Such a brave and talented chap.. Lets see whats gonna happen

Posted by   on (January 2, 2014, 16:16 GMT)

can't fault pankaj for this emotional outburst... he has been performing well over the past 4 years but has been given a raw deal each time.... its amazing that he has not even been included in A squads.... I guess Indian cricket will never reach the top as long as these regional politics dominate! take the case of rishi dhawan... highest wicker taker but his name was not even considered while binny got the nod! great work patil and co!

Posted by   on (January 2, 2014, 16:08 GMT)

Man!! This guy has bared his heart open and I feel truly sad abt his situation.. If the selectors have any real intention of seeing India climb to top of test rankings, bowlers like Pankaj Singh and Abu Nechim need to be selected.. In a nation which reveres batsmen, its high time we come to respect a bowler!!!

Posted by Batmanindallas on (January 2, 2014, 16:03 GMT)

I feel so much for him and his plight. When a bowler like Ishant Sharma keeps getting picked up on promise for over 50 matches a guy like Pankaj deserves a shot at it. Come on Patil being bold and give this man a chance....

Posted by   on (January 2, 2014, 15:58 GMT)

Completely agree with him. Pankaj Singh DESERVED to be on the plane to New Zealand. When Ishant, Zaheer are consistently failing, why do we go back to them -- and ignore this lion-hearted bowler?

Posted by bhushanB on (January 2, 2014, 15:56 GMT)

If not to the public, the selector should keep at least the top performing domestic players on where they stand.. and the areas they need to improve to finally get there......

Imagine getting 5.0 out of 5.0 rating at job every year consistently for 4+ years and still overlooked for that daunting promotion.....

Posted by arvind.Kejriwal.AAP_A_Better_INDIA_ on (January 2, 2014, 15:53 GMT)

Trust me, with "135kmph" speed and above 6 feet height ..Pankaj who hits the deck hard and bowl on good line and length is way better than pathetic Ishant Sharma. It is not easy for a medium-fast bowler to pick wickets on Ind tracks that are batting friendly. No wonder when teams like Eng, Aus tour Ind their fast bowlers look ordinary.

Pankaj surely deserves a chance at least ahead of Ishant !

Except Shami, Varun Aaron and Umesh none of our fast bowlers bowl above 140 consistently.

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