Ranji Trophy 2012-13 November 20, 2012

'What more do I need to do?' - Pankaj Singh

Despite being one of the most accurate, consistent and wicket-taking bowlers in domestic cricket, Pankaj Singh has been consistently ignored by the national selectors
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"Jaan toh lagani hi padti hai jab bhi gend aapke haath mein hoti hai [You have to give it all every time you bowl]," Pankaj Singh, the Rajasthan bowling spearhead for well over half a dozen years now, said after having bowled three spells at his best on the last day of their Ranji Trophy Group A tie against Madhya Pradesh. Such was Pankaj's energy that each one of his three spells on a meaningless last day, was as good as - if not better than - his opening spell of the match under a blazing sun on the first morning at the KL Saini Stadium.

Even though Pankaj, 27, tried to be as optimistic as possible, there was a hint of frustration in his voice. And soon, rather than answering a question, he himself raised one that has been pondering not only him but a lot of Indian cricket followers. "Can someone tell me why is it that I am not picked for India [in Tests]?" he asked. "I have picked 150 wickets in the last four domestic seasons and there have been so many others who have been given an opportunity. Why I am not presented with an opportunity? What more do I need to do to seek attention [of the selectors]?"

There's no doubt that Pankaj has a point while venting out his dejection. After all, despite being one of the most accurate, consistent and wicket-taking bowlers on the domestic scene over the last five seasons, he has been consistently ignored by the national selectors. The only time he was part of the Test squad was during the tour to Australia in 2007-08 but he didn't get an opportunity to bowl in a competitive game during the tour.

The only time he wore the national jersey was during the tri-nation series in Zimbabwe in June 2012 as part of a second-string India squad led by Suresh Raina. While all the other India pace bowlers on that tour have played at least one Test, Pankaj is still waiting for his chance. Since then, he has consistently picked wickets in domestic cricket. He was the second-highest wicket-taker in the 2010-11 Ranji season with 43 wickets [53 in the whole domestic season] and was the third highest wicket-taker in Rajasthan's victorious campaign last season.

Did he try and ask any selector - none of whom is a member of the refurbished national selection panel - about what he needed to do in order to get a national call-up? "I had asked one of them about three years ago. I was told I was lacking in pace, so I worked on it and now, I can consistently bowl 135+ [kph] for hours," he said. "Then they said I don't perform against the big teams. I can tell you that I have played six games against Mumbai and barring two of them [including last week's Group A tie], I have picked rich hauls in the other four games."

Despite his returns of one for 90 against Rohit Sharma-led Mumbai in Jaipur last week, Pankaj has picked three five-wicket hauls in six outings against the domestic stalwarts.

While the likes of Ashok Menaria and Robin Bist have gone on to represent India A after starring in Rajasthan's back-to-back Ranji triumphs, Pankaj's impressive record has been overlooked. "Let alone the India side," he said.

But howsoever frustrated a sportsperson is, a ray of hope is what keeps him going through the paces day and day out. The case was no different for Pankaj, who signed off with: "I have been ignored even in the A squad for a long time. I just hope that my efforts will be recognised soon."

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on November 22, 2012, 17:00 GMT

    yes.Pankaj Singh deserves a chance...

  • bighit14 on November 22, 2012, 15:04 GMT

    The best way to get noticed is to perform well in IPL and you will have to be included in India or India A squad

  • on November 22, 2012, 13:41 GMT

    It's pity that players like Harbhajan singh gets into the team without performing even at domestic level and players like Pankaj Singh who are delivering consistently are not selected even for India A team.

    Since u r professional player, why don't u get in touch in foreign cricket dometic team/clubs, I am sure u would perform exceptionally well on those lively pitches and may be then BCCI would give u the due consideration u deserve.

  • Bapi on November 22, 2012, 10:16 GMT

    If Vinaya Kumar, and Abhimanyu Mithun can get the chance why not Pankaj Singh. But having said this, Selectors already failed, when they tried with Mithun and Vinay. I think selectors are looking for guys in early 20's with raw pace, like Umesh jadav and Varun arron. keep working Pankaj. Try to bit more economical in IPL, I am sure these selectors will notify you.

  • on November 22, 2012, 9:50 GMT

    I have all the simpathy for Punkaj. His performance is consistant for last 4-5 season. He has +6 feet height and now bowling at good pace as well. I hope new selection committee will give a look. His problem is that he is not from Rajasthan so no lobby

  • on November 22, 2012, 7:07 GMT

    Pankaj Singh is surely ahead of guys like Dinda, Vinay, mithun...he has good height, now notched up his pace to 135k, has been in good rhythm, can move the ball both ways with lively pace & most importantly can bowl a long sessions without breaking down..what more BCCI requires, for a pacer a good height is always an advantage...surely instead of looking over tried & failed bowlers BCCI should open his eyes to see performance of guys like PANKAJ, RITURAJ, SHAMI AHMED, PAWAN SUYAL, AWANA...who r hard working & can bowl fast

  • Romenevans on November 22, 2012, 3:41 GMT

    You're not a fast bowler if you can't go higher than 120/KPH. So stop calling yourself a fast bowler first and then keep doing what you have been doing till you get yourself retired from domestic cricket.

  • timohyj on November 21, 2012, 19:14 GMT

    a great bowler. Hits the deck hard and swings the ball both ways. Definitely better than Dinda who is one of the most innocuous fast bowlers i have ever seen

  • QingdaoXI on November 21, 2012, 18:42 GMT

    India needs to build there Fast bowling as most of the test series from next year are going to be outside subcontinent, South Africa 2013 End, New Zealand 2014 Start, England 2014 Mid and Australia 2014 End. So it is necessary to built pace attack around Yadav, Ishant and Sreeshant with Aaroon, Awana, Pankaj and for swinging conditions Praveen Kumar.

  • on November 21, 2012, 18:31 GMT

    When he was selected for India's tour of Australia in 2007-08...he must have been in good form then considering he was selected to represent India,but I was really surprised initially when Ishant Sharma was selected in the team ahead of him,that Ishant did well thereafter is a different issue,but after that tour he was dropped from the India squad I'm not sure if it was due to an injury or anything else but he was never given a look-in after that which was very surprising.He deserved atleast one opportunity.And he's not the only one who has been selected to represent India and then dropped from the squad without even getting a chance to prove himself,another palyer who had to go through the same fate was dhawal kulkarni who was selected for the NewZealand tour of 2009,and then never given a chance.This is quite surprising to me,why pick a player in the squad and then drop him without giving him an opportunity to play even a single game??

  • on November 22, 2012, 17:00 GMT

    yes.Pankaj Singh deserves a chance...

  • bighit14 on November 22, 2012, 15:04 GMT

    The best way to get noticed is to perform well in IPL and you will have to be included in India or India A squad

  • on November 22, 2012, 13:41 GMT

    It's pity that players like Harbhajan singh gets into the team without performing even at domestic level and players like Pankaj Singh who are delivering consistently are not selected even for India A team.

    Since u r professional player, why don't u get in touch in foreign cricket dometic team/clubs, I am sure u would perform exceptionally well on those lively pitches and may be then BCCI would give u the due consideration u deserve.

  • Bapi on November 22, 2012, 10:16 GMT

    If Vinaya Kumar, and Abhimanyu Mithun can get the chance why not Pankaj Singh. But having said this, Selectors already failed, when they tried with Mithun and Vinay. I think selectors are looking for guys in early 20's with raw pace, like Umesh jadav and Varun arron. keep working Pankaj. Try to bit more economical in IPL, I am sure these selectors will notify you.

  • on November 22, 2012, 9:50 GMT

    I have all the simpathy for Punkaj. His performance is consistant for last 4-5 season. He has +6 feet height and now bowling at good pace as well. I hope new selection committee will give a look. His problem is that he is not from Rajasthan so no lobby

  • on November 22, 2012, 7:07 GMT

    Pankaj Singh is surely ahead of guys like Dinda, Vinay, mithun...he has good height, now notched up his pace to 135k, has been in good rhythm, can move the ball both ways with lively pace & most importantly can bowl a long sessions without breaking down..what more BCCI requires, for a pacer a good height is always an advantage...surely instead of looking over tried & failed bowlers BCCI should open his eyes to see performance of guys like PANKAJ, RITURAJ, SHAMI AHMED, PAWAN SUYAL, AWANA...who r hard working & can bowl fast

  • Romenevans on November 22, 2012, 3:41 GMT

    You're not a fast bowler if you can't go higher than 120/KPH. So stop calling yourself a fast bowler first and then keep doing what you have been doing till you get yourself retired from domestic cricket.

  • timohyj on November 21, 2012, 19:14 GMT

    a great bowler. Hits the deck hard and swings the ball both ways. Definitely better than Dinda who is one of the most innocuous fast bowlers i have ever seen

  • QingdaoXI on November 21, 2012, 18:42 GMT

    India needs to build there Fast bowling as most of the test series from next year are going to be outside subcontinent, South Africa 2013 End, New Zealand 2014 Start, England 2014 Mid and Australia 2014 End. So it is necessary to built pace attack around Yadav, Ishant and Sreeshant with Aaroon, Awana, Pankaj and for swinging conditions Praveen Kumar.

  • on November 21, 2012, 18:31 GMT

    When he was selected for India's tour of Australia in 2007-08...he must have been in good form then considering he was selected to represent India,but I was really surprised initially when Ishant Sharma was selected in the team ahead of him,that Ishant did well thereafter is a different issue,but after that tour he was dropped from the India squad I'm not sure if it was due to an injury or anything else but he was never given a look-in after that which was very surprising.He deserved atleast one opportunity.And he's not the only one who has been selected to represent India and then dropped from the squad without even getting a chance to prove himself,another palyer who had to go through the same fate was dhawal kulkarni who was selected for the NewZealand tour of 2009,and then never given a chance.This is quite surprising to me,why pick a player in the squad and then drop him without giving him an opportunity to play even a single game??

  • SHKS on November 21, 2012, 16:24 GMT

    Pankaj is absolutly right.Now a days its easy to enter Indian team if you are a good fast bowler and Pankaj proved himself.Please Patil saheb look at him

  • vinay21 on November 21, 2012, 15:59 GMT

    Some peoples always talk about Vinay and Mithun. I don't know why they are talking simply nonsense and without knowledge they will comment.Vinay is the Consistent bowler since he made Ranji debut from 2004.He was the 2 nd highest wicket takers in 3 seasons and also once highest wicket takers(Indian bowler) for in IPL.If any thing get doubt check his records. Mithun got selected by he was the highest wicket taker in the Ranji season 2009.(If u guys check for his records).And some people always made comment abt Karnataka Players.In fact in last season many of the karnataka players performed well but they r not selected Ex:Stuart Binny, all rounder he picks abt 20 wkts and 750 runs,Manish Pandey highest run getter in 2009 season and also consistent performer in domestic season,Amit Verma and Ganesh Satish all r consistent players in Domestic season.Spin Kp Apanna consistent bowler in domestic season.Before commenting Please check their records and then comment.Simply commenting non sense

  • on November 21, 2012, 14:24 GMT

    @Bruisers calling Ishant one of India's 'best' pacers is an insult to the bowlers like Pankaj,shami Ahmed and even PK who have done a lot better in Intl. games and A tours. Ishant was awful after the Windies tour.

  • sachin_equal_to_bradman on November 21, 2012, 14:08 GMT

    Selectors...pls note this guy..BCCI should mould the following 10 fast bowlers(in future)..1.UMESH 2.VARUN 3.ISHANT 4.SHREESANTH(If he can control his emotions) 5.DINDA 6.AWANA 7.PANKAJ 8.DAWAL KULKARNI(for his accuracy) 9.KAMRAN KHAN( leftie who Played for RR) and 10.VINAY(if needed). ... They need to hire coaches like WASIM and WAQAUR and then train them to bowl atleast 140 consistenely in all conditions...This can make a revolutionary in india for pace bowling...this can be seriously be useful...these guys should be trained in a spl academy...oly good bowlers need to be trained there....GUYS WAT DO U SAY????

  • Naresh28 on November 21, 2012, 14:06 GMT

    PANKAJ SINGH is unlucky. While the likes of Mithun and Vinay have been chosen and him ignored - you wonder. Pankaj could be an apt replacement for the talented Sreesanth. With these new selectors there is some glimmer of hope. Dont know if his speed and wicket taking skill has been tested overseas - but giving him an India A shot could reveal all.

  • CricketMaan on November 21, 2012, 13:37 GMT

    @pprash_2002 - a lot of what you said may be right, but we have/had players in Tests from UP/Vidharba/Jharkand/Saurashtra/Hydrebad/Kerala. Umesh and Aaron were picked ahead due to thier pace, as we were desperately seeking pace bolwers. Our A teams have had recently players from Rajasthan, MP, Baroda etc. Dinda too picked wickets before picked for Tests. I see Pankaj suffering simlar fate to Mithun, VRV who too were picked too soon and now into oblivion. I've read about Shammi Ahmed who too bowls quick..now he is from bengal so again might tip of Pankaj due to pace but not coz of your logic.

  • kaplish202 on November 21, 2012, 12:55 GMT

    i truely admire pankaj singh as a genuine fast bowler with a good height to extract bounce also.i think he should be dawning indian colors in near future and hope selectors see the work he has done in last 3-4 ranji seasons bst of luck .....

  • Procter on November 21, 2012, 12:49 GMT

    Pankaj should shift to play either from TN or Karnataka or CSK. He will be picked then!

  • on November 21, 2012, 12:46 GMT

    Absolutely. Pankaj is certainly the most promising domestic seamer. He is so much more accomplished and has better control than Dinda and heck his average and strike rates are a lot better than Dinda. Hope he gets a break.

  • guptahitesh4u on November 21, 2012, 12:37 GMT

    It must be frustrating for him after being consistent for years ..

  • on November 21, 2012, 7:20 GMT

    I think he certainly deserves a look in

  • Bruisers on November 21, 2012, 7:19 GMT

    I've always said this and I keep saying - Pankaj Singh and Parvinder Awana are the best seamers in India apart from Zaheer, Ishant and Yadav.

  • YusufbhaiPathan on November 21, 2012, 5:40 GMT

    If Vinay Kumar can get a chance to play, why not Pankaj Singh? I think basis of selection is more based on IPL and less on Domestic Games? Also State Boards need to take care of their players by continuously recommending them to selectors...Rajasthan Cricket Board really needs to rethink on their strategies because they have not produced big players inspite of having good talent...

    Another view can be: Look at Badrinath, Dhawan, Rayadu? All have done well in domestic but still not finding chance to play in National Team....How come you can select Murali Vijay on front of Manoj Tiwari and all other mentioned players?

  • pprash_2002 on November 21, 2012, 4:17 GMT

    I think two reasons why he was not selected for india are 1)He dont hav strong support who can influence selection(vinay & mithun also lacks pace,but they are from karnataka,dinda is from bengal)Rajstans influence on indian selection is less.if he is from mumbai/delhi/karnataka/tamilnadu/bengal then he could be easily into the team.2)Selectors are also looking towards ipl perfomances,he need to perform exceptionally well in ipl.

  • on November 21, 2012, 3:28 GMT

    player like rohith sharma,even he dont play his best wen he selected get chance but player like pankaj singh who is consistensly giving good performance will not get chance.very bad.

  • siddhant328 on November 21, 2012, 2:46 GMT

    Pankaj is right in his quest for at least an attention. He has a good FC average of 25.91 and best of 32/8 which indicates that he has the character of quality fast bowler. His height is an obvious plus point for him. In the current scenario of Indian cricket, when we are in search of quality pacers who could extract the most on overseas wickets, ignoring these players is not going to help the cause. At least, on wickets like ones in Oz, Caribbean what is the point of taking spinners along with you? India now needs a fine separation b/w the side needed on Indian wickets and the one needed on fast tracks. This logic should apply on batsmen as well. Only then we are going to avoid the 0-4 results. Indian selectors should take inspiration from the case of Umesh Yadav who wasn't devastating in FC but achieved heights in Oz tour. Certain players have the tendency of performing better at Intrntl level as compared to their FC outings n I'm sure Pankaj is one of them.

  • karamana on November 21, 2012, 0:06 GMT

    It was amazing how Abhimanyu Mithun and Jaydev Unadkat got opportunities ahead of Pankaj. But Pankaj should not lose hope. The new selection committee seems to be good, and I am sure Pankaj will soon get his chance.

  • on November 20, 2012, 22:08 GMT

    I must agree with Pankaj that he has received the Rawest of deals, as selectors dont pick players on merit or form as if they did he would hve made the test team by now. BCCI selectors seem to hve a knack of not selecting those players who richly deserve but would prefer to give tried n tested guys who have past they best ie Ashish NEhra. Selectors cant really give any VALID reason not to pick Pankaj but that sums up Indian selection since day one has always been the case if your from wrong state or face doesnt fit dont ever expect to get a chance. Merit is an alien word for BCCI selectors.

  • on November 20, 2012, 18:48 GMT

    if someone can please pass this msg along to Pankaj Singh - Pankaj, what you need to do is turn up for your IPL side RCB and put together 3-4 very good performances in those 16 matches with them. Its unfortunate but that is what people see and will get you the visibility. Else, guys like Aaron, Dinda, Vinay Kumar etc who bowl 1/2 good pacey spell in that 16 match series will always be ahead of you. Sorry, but that is the bitter and very unfortunate truth.

  • Alexk400 on November 20, 2012, 17:39 GMT

    I think he should have been selected last year itself. He is only reason rajastan won. He is workhorse rajastan rode. It is astonishing K srikkanth company ignored his great performance. I ask sandeep patil to pick pankkaj singh for test matches. He is persistent. I always saw he is only one taking wickets for rajastan. He should have given same chance vinay kumar , dada getting. I start to think Rajastan cricket board do not have much influence in current BCCI setup i think. They are ignoring for the fault of rajastan cricket board. very bad.

  • vinaykmr on November 20, 2012, 17:06 GMT

    pankaj singh deserves a look in. he is young hard working pacer. time to vacate place of zaheer who is becoming oldie n been lazy with worse fielding. pankaj singh has got pace as well.

  • on November 20, 2012, 16:50 GMT

    Cant agree more with what he said.. But you really can't deny the fact that the current pace bowling options that india has is more than satisfactory.

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  • on November 20, 2012, 16:50 GMT

    Cant agree more with what he said.. But you really can't deny the fact that the current pace bowling options that india has is more than satisfactory.

  • vinaykmr on November 20, 2012, 17:06 GMT

    pankaj singh deserves a look in. he is young hard working pacer. time to vacate place of zaheer who is becoming oldie n been lazy with worse fielding. pankaj singh has got pace as well.

  • Alexk400 on November 20, 2012, 17:39 GMT

    I think he should have been selected last year itself. He is only reason rajastan won. He is workhorse rajastan rode. It is astonishing K srikkanth company ignored his great performance. I ask sandeep patil to pick pankkaj singh for test matches. He is persistent. I always saw he is only one taking wickets for rajastan. He should have given same chance vinay kumar , dada getting. I start to think Rajastan cricket board do not have much influence in current BCCI setup i think. They are ignoring for the fault of rajastan cricket board. very bad.

  • on November 20, 2012, 18:48 GMT

    if someone can please pass this msg along to Pankaj Singh - Pankaj, what you need to do is turn up for your IPL side RCB and put together 3-4 very good performances in those 16 matches with them. Its unfortunate but that is what people see and will get you the visibility. Else, guys like Aaron, Dinda, Vinay Kumar etc who bowl 1/2 good pacey spell in that 16 match series will always be ahead of you. Sorry, but that is the bitter and very unfortunate truth.

  • on November 20, 2012, 22:08 GMT

    I must agree with Pankaj that he has received the Rawest of deals, as selectors dont pick players on merit or form as if they did he would hve made the test team by now. BCCI selectors seem to hve a knack of not selecting those players who richly deserve but would prefer to give tried n tested guys who have past they best ie Ashish NEhra. Selectors cant really give any VALID reason not to pick Pankaj but that sums up Indian selection since day one has always been the case if your from wrong state or face doesnt fit dont ever expect to get a chance. Merit is an alien word for BCCI selectors.

  • karamana on November 21, 2012, 0:06 GMT

    It was amazing how Abhimanyu Mithun and Jaydev Unadkat got opportunities ahead of Pankaj. But Pankaj should not lose hope. The new selection committee seems to be good, and I am sure Pankaj will soon get his chance.

  • siddhant328 on November 21, 2012, 2:46 GMT

    Pankaj is right in his quest for at least an attention. He has a good FC average of 25.91 and best of 32/8 which indicates that he has the character of quality fast bowler. His height is an obvious plus point for him. In the current scenario of Indian cricket, when we are in search of quality pacers who could extract the most on overseas wickets, ignoring these players is not going to help the cause. At least, on wickets like ones in Oz, Caribbean what is the point of taking spinners along with you? India now needs a fine separation b/w the side needed on Indian wickets and the one needed on fast tracks. This logic should apply on batsmen as well. Only then we are going to avoid the 0-4 results. Indian selectors should take inspiration from the case of Umesh Yadav who wasn't devastating in FC but achieved heights in Oz tour. Certain players have the tendency of performing better at Intrntl level as compared to their FC outings n I'm sure Pankaj is one of them.

  • on November 21, 2012, 3:28 GMT

    player like rohith sharma,even he dont play his best wen he selected get chance but player like pankaj singh who is consistensly giving good performance will not get chance.very bad.

  • pprash_2002 on November 21, 2012, 4:17 GMT

    I think two reasons why he was not selected for india are 1)He dont hav strong support who can influence selection(vinay & mithun also lacks pace,but they are from karnataka,dinda is from bengal)Rajstans influence on indian selection is less.if he is from mumbai/delhi/karnataka/tamilnadu/bengal then he could be easily into the team.2)Selectors are also looking towards ipl perfomances,he need to perform exceptionally well in ipl.

  • YusufbhaiPathan on November 21, 2012, 5:40 GMT

    If Vinay Kumar can get a chance to play, why not Pankaj Singh? I think basis of selection is more based on IPL and less on Domestic Games? Also State Boards need to take care of their players by continuously recommending them to selectors...Rajasthan Cricket Board really needs to rethink on their strategies because they have not produced big players inspite of having good talent...

    Another view can be: Look at Badrinath, Dhawan, Rayadu? All have done well in domestic but still not finding chance to play in National Team....How come you can select Murali Vijay on front of Manoj Tiwari and all other mentioned players?