'They told me to treat it like a one-dayer' - RP Singh
RP made it a memorable debut to boot
Rudra Pratap Singh was rewarded for his diligence
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Around 20 years ago, a left-arm seamer called Rudra Pratap Singh played
his first and penultimate one-day game for India. Hailing from Uttar
Pradesh, he was one of the several new-ball bowlers who were tried out in
the mid '80s, when India were almost obsessed with choosing medium-pace
over spin, but ended with a lone international wicket and failed to make
the Test grade. In a queer parallel, another Rudra Pratap Singh, also from
Uttar Pradesh, also a left-arm seamer and also a consistent domestic
performer, turned out for India. However, this was a Test and RP made it a
memorable debut to boot.
RP Singh's selection made the headlines primarily because of the man whom
he replaced but he carved a niche of his own with a diligent effort.
Dennis Lillie, who bowled on this ground around 25 years back, had termed
the pitch as a "graveyard for bowlers" and it appears to have retained its
character over the years. Having being given the new ball on his debut, RP Singh
induced a chance in his very first delivery, only to see a thick edge fly
through Anil Kumble's outstretched hands at gully. "I just treated it like
a normal ball," he said when asked about what he had thought before the
big moment. "I didn't try anything different. I always try to maintain a
disciplined line and that is exactly what I was attempting right through."
He revealed that he had been told about his selection on the morning of
the game, and acknowledged his team-mates for helping him cope with the
nervousness. "We were told to be prepared before every game and I found
out that I was playing in the morning. I got a lot of advise from the
fielders and they told me to treat it like a one-dayer, maintaining an off
stump line. That released the pressure. I needed to bowl to a disciplined
line and the results followed."
He's not the sort of bowler who will have jaws dropping but the ability to
persist with a certain length, to worry only about hitting the right
areas, and to weather a torrential run-glut make him a valuable asset. He
said he wasn't too intimidated to bowl to a "great batsman" like
Inzamam-ul-Haq adding, "my job was to keep a disciplined line. I did not
think of anything else. I think four wickets on this track is a good
He revealed that making one's debut against Pakistan was a "special
feeling" and added that he had hoped for a chance on this tour. "I didn't
get a chance against Sri Lanka and was hopeful of playing here," he added.
"The conditions are the same here and playing here is a different sort of
feeling." It was interesting to see Dean Jones getting excited about RP
Singh and praising his accuracy. Jones probably remembers his dismissal in
a one-dayer at Rajkot in 1986, when another Rudra Pratap Singh snapped him
up to get his only international wicket.
Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is staff writer of Cricinfo