Pankaj Singh, one of the most consistent performers with the ball in the Indian domestic circuit, is set to decide on his future after the forthcoming season if his international career does not take off.
The lanky Rajasthan pacer, who will turn 29 on May 6, is giving himself another season on the domestic circuit to break into the Indian team before taking a call on his future. "I have to be realistic. If the selectors don't recognise my effort, I will have to think of something else.
'No point of thinking'
"If it does not happen in the next season then there is no point thinking of the India cap. It would be quite clear that I will never play for India," Pankaj told mid-day on the sidelines of the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament. Pankaj, who twisted his ankle in the league stage, has not played any match in the Super League stage for Rajasthan, but has been travelling with the team.
Pankaj kept knocking on the India team door with his consistent performances over the years at domestic level. Several times he has been selected for the India 'A' tours, but he finally got a chance to wear the India cap in Harare in an ODI series against Sri Lanka where he finished with 0-45. That was his first and only international match before slowly slipping out of the reckoning.
In the last season, out of sheer frustration Pankaj decided to meet a selector after a Ranji Trophy match to get an answer as to why he was being overlooked. Earlier this year, Pankaj was rewarded with a place in the Rest of India squad for the Irani Cup where he claimed six wickets even as Ranji Trophy champions Karnataka slammed a mammoth 606 in the first innings.
"The Irani Trophy selection did boost my confidence. It means I am on the selectors' radar. So, there is hope that something will happen. I am just living by that hope," said Pankaj. Pankaj, who has 300 and 75 wickets in first-class and List A games respectively, was disappointed that no Indian Premier League team offered him a contract.
"It was a setback. I don't know why that happened. Despite proving every year in domestic matches, I don't know where I am lacking… but that has helped me work harder on my game now. "I don't have any matches after this (Syed Mushtaq Ali T20). I will work on my fitness and skills," concluded Pankaj.