Pankaj not considering switch from Rajasthan
Ever since his return to Jaipur last week, Pankaj Singh has been acknowledging congratulatory calls for having earned the much-awaited Test cap in England. Amidst the steady stream of calls have been those from many of his concerned Rajasthan team-mates and a few curious office bearers of some of the state bodies in India.
While Pankaj's Rajasthan team-mates have been wanting to know if he has any update on the fate of their team regarding the forthcoming season in the wake of the BCCI omitting Rajasthan from the domestic schedule, other state associations have been querying the burly pace bowler if he is willing to explore moving out of his home state and play as a professional.
"I have got a couple of calls asking me if I would like to play as a professional but I have told them right now I am not at all thinking of moving out," Pankaj told ESPNcricinfo. "In fact, none of the Rajasthan players are even considering the option of playing with another state as a professional. It is premature to consider these options right now. That will be the last option but I am sure the BCCI and RCA will work out some solution which will let us play as a team."
Rajasthan's omission from the domestic schedule raised a serious doubt over their participation in all the domestic meets. After being suspended by the BCCI in May for having allowed Lalit Modi to contest the election, the Rajasthan Cricket Association has been opposing the ad-hoc committee appointed by the BCCI to run the RCA's cricketing affairs.
Pankaj said playing as a professional might hamper his chances of playing for Rajasthan again. "It's not easy to play as a professional. You have to fit into the combination and get acquainted with the new team, venues and all. Moreover, once you play as a professional, you find it difficult to come back to the home state again. All these things are difficult to deal with, so we are keeping ourselves away from these thoughts right now."
However, Pankaj and his team-mates will have to consider the option of playing as a professional if there is no patch-up between the BCCI and RCA. "That is still far," he said. "I hope within a couple of weeks the picture will be clear and I am keeping my fingers crossed for Rajasthan team. Not just Ranji but even at the Under-23 and Under-19 level there are some stupendous performers and I hope all of us won't be kept away from the domestic season."
Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo