India~~s RP Singh agog for the Pakistan series

Published: Monday, October 22, 2007, 3:35 [IST]
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Lucknow: Lanky left arm seamer Rudra Pratap Singh, one of the stars of T20 cricket world cup winning Indian team, today said he was honing his skills further to take on Pakistan due to play one-day and Test match series against India next month.

The success story of RP, as he is fondly called, started during his last tour of Pakistan, which he followed in South Africa T-20 world cup last month.

''I am looking forward to take on Pakistan in the coming series,'' he told reporters after reaching here at his home ground, his first visit after Team India won the T-20 WC beating the formidable Aussies.

He was accorded a tumultuous welcome after reaching here from Mumbai, where he was part of the winning team of T-20 match against Australia last evening.

The graduate of Sports hostel at Gomtinagar, Lucknow was toast of the cricket fans who gathered at the airport to take him to his home pitch. He was here on way to Rae Bareli, his home town, about 80 kms from here.

Happy with the way he performed since last one month, first in T20 WC and then in one-day series against Australia, the UP's seamer expressed satisfaction over being part of the winning squad.

Asked about his tenacity to bowl well at death, specially pitching his yorkers at the right spots, he said ''I had been practicising it since last one year. I am happy that the yorkers were pitched well when required most.'' He admitted that the bowlers were getting swing in SA and the team had to work out strategies to counter Aussies in Indian conditions.

The 21-year-old had made his ODI debut against Zimbabwe in 2005, while his Test match debut was against Pakistan at Faislabad, Pakistan in January 2006.

Contradicting that T-20 format of cricket, is only for the batsmen RP said as a bowler he knew he had to keep his basics right. He said the last night victory against Aussies proved the T-20 WC win was not a flash in the pan. Looking a bit disappointed at conceding the 50 overs one-day series to Kangaroos, R P Singh said Australians were definitely the better lot, but India was not far behind.

''...continuous cricket for last so many months may have taken a toll on players, hence the series loss...but, Team India is very much there at the highest level,'' he asserted.

Hoping to be the member of Team India against visiting Pakistanis, he said to beat the neighbours would again be a tough task ahead. ''Team India has a combination of an enthusiatic lot and we would live up to the expectations of the cricket lovers against Pakistan as well,'' he underlined.

The young pacer was all praise for the leadership qualities of cricket skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni describing him as a 'fine captain'. Dhoni's ability to handle pressure situation was something, which reflected on the team's recent success, he said.

In reply to a question, RP said the big 3s - Sachin, Saurav and Dravid - were still the source of inspiration for the youngsters like him. ''Any player can go through a lean phase in his career, but the fact remains that the seniors have lot to offer to the Indian cricket,'' he sought to justify.

Refuting the charges of sledging on the cricket field against the Kangaroos, he said ''we only responded to what came to us. We were always decent.'' On antics of S Shreeshant and his indulgence in exchange of words with Andrew Symonds or other Australian players, he said every individual had his own style, so has his colleague from Kerala.


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