Through yesterday's selection in the Indian cricket team for the limited overs and Test section of this month's tour of New Zealand, Madhya Pradesh fast bowler Ishwar Pandey (24) has a great chance to emulate his father Chand, who served in the Indian Army before his retirement.
“My father represented the country on the battlefield and I will represent India on the cricket field. I could see that pride and happiness on my father’s face. He was very happy that I have got a chance to represent my country,” Pandey told MiD DAY minutes after news of his selection in the Indian team emerged.
Ishwar’s father insisted that his two sons take their studies seriously. While his younger son followed his father’s advice, elder son Ishwar took to cricket against his father’s wishes. “My father would always stress on the need to do well in academics. He always wanted us to focus on studies so that we could have a secure future. But I was keener on cricket. I was confident that if I keep working hard, I’ll succeed.
I am happy that my father feels proud of me now,” added Pandey, who changed streams from Science to Arts in college to focus more on cricket. After ending up as the leading wicket-taker in the 2012-13 Ranji Trophy with 48 wickets, the lanky medium-pacer has already claimed 30 wickets in eight Ranji games this season for Madhya Pradesh.
He bounced back to form after a forgettable Indian Premier League debut season. The 24-year-old was one of the star performers on the South Africa ‘A’ tour last August. In his limited overs debut against the hosts, Pandey claimed four for 76 from nine overs as India ‘A’ won by 39 runs. In his maiden unofficial four-day Test, Pandey finished with a memorable seven-wicket haul in India’s thumping win at Rustenburg.
Pandey, who is working on his speed, was expecting a national call-up soon. But the medium-pacer was surprised to be included in the ODI and Test teams. “I wasn’t expecting my selection for both teams. But the selectors’ faith in me has only boosted my confidence. My preparation has already started. I am ready for the challenge. I was practising when I was told about my selection. I am rushing home to celebrate with my family. It is a fantastic start to the new year,” Pandey signed off.