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5 Indian cricketers who deserved a longer run

Mahendra Raju
ANALYST
Modified 26 Mar 2018, 13:14 IST
Top 5 / Top 10
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#2 Pankaj Singh

Pankaj Singh
Pankaj Singh's case is perhaps a case of divine conspiracy

Pankaj Singh was the first bowler from Rajasthan and only the fourth pacer in the country to take 400 wickets in first class-cricket. The tall 32-year-old pacer who represented India in just 2 Tests is yet another addition to India’s what-ifs.

Having churned out wickets by toiling hard in unfavourable tracks in India year after year, Pankaj Singh was first picked for the 2007-08 tour to Australia. He used to just warm the benches.

Following this, the bowler with an uncomplicated and rugged action never returned to the squad for 6 long years. A six-year long period where India tried every possible bowler except him. This despite him topping the charts year after year and helping Rajasthan win the Ranji title.

Pankaj finally made his debut in the 3rd Test at Rose Bowl, England in 2014. It took the burly pacer 26 spells, 69 overs and 415 balls to take his maiden wicket. He ended the 2 Tests with just 2 wickets.

However, those are figures that are purely deceptive. Pankaj, who consistently beat the batsman and induced edges which flew everywhere but to the hands of a fielder, was incredibly unlucky. For anyone who watched the two matches that he played religiously, they would tell you that he was undeserving of those numbers.

He bowled with pace, extracted bounce and swung it both ways without much purchase. He had Cook who went on to make 95 dropped by Jadeja when he was just 5. This was perhaps the moment the series went out of hand.

Following this, Pankaj had an LBW decision of Ian Bell given against him. Shami who sprayed the ball around, and Rohit who barely managed to bowl in line with the stumps got wickets while Pankaj remained wicket-less in his first game.

In the second game, Pankaj finally had Buttler with a brilliant change of pace. While he wasn’t quite the best bowler in the series, he was arguably India’s best bowler in the last 2 matches. However, unlucky Pankaj never found himself on the squad lists again.

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Published 22 Mar 2018, 15:30 IST
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