Irani Cup: Pankaj wants better!

Jan 21, 2017, 08:10 IST | Subodh Mayure

No thrill for RoI's Rajasthan pacer despite 3-77 vs Gujarat on opening day  

ROI’s Pankaj Singh appeals for a lbw verdict against Gujarat during the Irani Cup tie at Brabourne Stadium yesterday. Pics/Suresh Karkera
ROI’s Pankaj Singh appeals for a lbw verdict against Gujarat during the Irani Cup tie at Brabourne Stadium yesterday. Pics/Suresh Karkera 

Rest of India pacer Pankaj Singh sent three Gujarat batsmen to the pavilion on the opening day of the Irani Cup at the Brabourne Stadium yesterday. Samit Gohel was trapped leg before for a duck in the very first over of the day, prolific scorer Priyank Panchal (30 off 61 balls) snicked one which moved away to Karun Nair at first slip and later in the day, Chintan Gaja became Pankaj’s second leg-before dismissal.

Gandhi scores debut ton
Gujarat’s Chirag Gandhi’s maiden first-class century helped the newly-crowned Ranji Trophy champions bounce back against Rest of India on Day One of the Irani Cup at the Cricket Club of India’s Brabourne Stadium yesterday. The 26-year-old, who remained unbeaten on 136, struck 18 boundaries and a six during his 159-ball stay at the crease. At stumps, Gujarat were 300 for 8 with Gandhi’s partner Hardik Patel batting on nine.

For ROI, Punjab pacer Siddarth Kaul (4-73) and Pankaj (3-77) were the pick of the bowlers.

Pankaj, who played the Southampton and Manchester Tests of the 2014 Test series against England, was an unhappy man at the Cricket Club of India despite his 3 for 77. “I am not satisfied with my performance today. I want to perform much better to make a comeback in the Indian team,” Pankaj told mid-day yesterday.

Rajasthan’s Pankaj, who went wicketless after conceding 179 runs in his first Test and got his first Test scalp on his 416th ball on that 2014 tour of England, claimed 41 wickets in eight Ranji Trophy matches this season.

Gujarat's Chirag Gandhi celebrates his century
Gujarat's Chirag Gandhi celebrates his century

Waiting game carries on
“I have always tried to perform well in order to get chances to represent my country. But unfortunately, I have not got many opportunities. I guess it is destiny - some get their break early while others have to wait for quite long. That is part of life, part of the game. The only thing in my hands is to perform consistently well and that is what I am trying to do,” said 31-year old bowler. When asked how important it is to perform in the presence of national selector Sarandeep Singh, who is also the coach cum manager of the Rest of India team, Pankaj, who is playing his second Irani Cup tie, said: “This is a big match and a good performance in this game counts a lot. Everyone is watching. I will try my best to come up with a performance to get noticed again.” On the fact that he was ignored for quite a while, Pankaj said: “Maybe the selectors had a different opinion.”

Brief scores

Gujarat 300 for 8 in 88 overs (Manpreet Juneja 47, Chirag Gandhi not out 136; Hardik Patel not out 9;
Pankaj Singh 3 for 77, Siddharth Kaul 4 for 73) v Rest of India.

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