London, Aug 18: India seems to be making a habit of pulling players out of cold storage and making them replace their injured compatriots. This time it's 26-year old R P Singh who finds himself in the hot seat as the visiting team sweats on the recovery of ace paceman Praveen Kumar. If the crucial digit of India's highest wicket-taker in the ongoing Test series against hosts England, doesn't recover before the toss, R P could very well be thrown the new ball.
India is short enough of experience, let alone intent, where their present pace attack is concerned. With another player who has been kept out of the rigours of India's globe-trotting Test schedule for a while, there isn't too much to bank on, is there? After all R P played his last Test in Ahmedabad in April 2008, a match in which he bowled a barren spell of 0/81 and which undoubtedly marked the start of his Test hiatus.
Even his career statistics in Tests have been at best erratic and mediocre. After picking up a five-for against Pakistan on debut, he steadily went downhill while his overall present average has surged to over 39! Taking a grand total of 40 wickets from 13 matches indicates that he is woefully lacking in the kind of seasoning which one requires to take on an in-form English side with.
Of course, R P has had his moments in the sun as far at the other formats go. He was the highest scalper in the inaugural World Twenty20 and won India a match against Australia at Perth with a four-wicket haul. But now he's coming off not a so prosperous an IPL season and is yet to show his mettle in England.
Sure, he is a certified magician with the ball, getting it to swing both ways. But these are standard weapons for any A-grade bowler. What will set him apart, is how astutely and consistently he can whip out his tricks...