Speedster Pankaj raring to go Down Under

Published: Saturday, December 15, 2007, 3:35 [IST]
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Lucknow: Pankaj Singh, the newly-inducted Indian pacer for the upcoming Australian tour starting later this month, today said he will give his best, if given a chance to play against the world champions, besides claiming that Australia would be under pressure against India on home turf.

"I would love to bowl on Australian wickets which are hard and bouncy. If I get a chance, I would love to bowl and learn on tour as Australia is famous for hard and intense cricket," the 22-year-old, who idolises Kapil Dev and Glenn McGrath, said.

''I will concentrate on my line and length in the tour as I have been doing in the present season,'' he said adding his speed and movements on the seamer-friendly strips in Australia would certainly give him the edge.

Pankaj claimed that Austalia would be under pressure to win the home series. ''Team India is not at all concerned about the mental pressure and would only aim playing good cricket.''

Talking to mediapersons on way to his native Amethi in Sultanpur district, Pankaj said he would not be worried about his identity in the presence of Zahir Khan and R P Singh.

''Every player has his own identity and people take his cognisance in due course,'' he noted.

''My time has started and I will certainly perform accordingly, so that I can also come on the list of other speedsters like Zahir and R P,'' he commented.

Asked if youngsters are proving too good for the old hands in Team India, the young speedster, representing Rajasthan in the Ranji Trophy, maintained that although many a youngsters have made it to the squad, senior players like Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguli were also contributing much for the team.

Talking about the skippers, he said although he was yet to play for Team India, he knew about Anil Kumble and Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

''Both are good at handling the youngsters and keeping a balance in the entire team.''

Pankaj, who has already taken 26 wickets in five Ranji ties this season, said he was on top of the world after getting the news about his selection for the Australian tour, but now he will have to perform accordingly to justify his selection.

''Now I am concerned about my performance and know that only good bowling  will see me through in future,'' he commented. Reacting on the fitness problem of fast bowlers, Pankaj said only a good physio-trainer can counter such problems.

''The physio-trainer of Rajasthan is very good and he helps a lot to keep me fit for every match,'' he added.

Pankaj will be at his native village Baheta in Gauriganj, Amethi for two days before leaving for Mumbai. A function to honour the young cricketer will also be held there 'morrow.

Pankaj's father Sukhraj Singh, a retired armyman, had said ''I am proud of my son...he has brought laurels not only to us, but to the entire village.'' ''He will seek the blessings of all the village elders, before going for the Australian tour,'' the beaming father said.

Born on May 6, 1985, Pankaj, completed his primary education from HAL School and intermediate from Allahabad.

He graduated from Kamla Nehru Institute, Sultanpur in 2004.

Pankaj has 73 first-class wickets in his kitty from 23 games with a strike rate of just over 26 apiece is considered to be a good one for the fast bowlers on the placid Indian pitches. His performance in domestic and list-A matches earned him the India spot.


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