Jaipur: Consistent Ranji performances have not helped his national ambitions and Rajasthan pacer Pankaj Singh is now pinning his hopes on a good IPL outing to grab the selectors' attention this season.
Pankaj, who has been one of the most successful domestic bowlers for the past few years, has been ignored despite consistent performances. The 28-year-old pacer, who will play for Royal Challengers Bangalore, has played just one ODI for the Indian team.
"Past is past and it is no use talking about the things which did not happen. But since then I have been performing consistently in domestic cricket," Pankaj said. "Rajasthan were champions in Ranji Trophy and I played against the top batsmen of the country. This year too, I have bagged 29 wickets and performed better than more fancied bowlers when we were face to face." Pankaj has a tally of 32, 53, 35 and 29 respectively from the past four seasons.
Pankaj said he is now aiming for a good IPL outing. "I am looking forward to the IPL and will play my third season with Royal challengers Bangalore. They had South African Dale Steyn till now but this time around they have a pace attack consisting mostly of Indian bowlers.
"The likes of great Zaheer Khan and Left-arm medium-pacer RP Singh will be around and I hope to gain from their experience," Pankaj said. Pankaj has skipped the ongoing Vijay Hazare One-Day Championships.
"...but I am utilising this time to sharpen my skills for the domestic Twenty20 and also the IPL. I have touched 142km/hr and have bowled consistently around 135km/hr. Now I wish to work upon my slow bouncers and Yorkers. I believe Morne Morkel and Lasith Malinga are the finest exponents of these variations and I wish to learn from them," he said.
When asked whether he still hopes for a comeback, the pacer merely stated that good performance should be rewarded. "Despite my consistent performances I did not feature in India A or any such teams. What else should I do? Why any cricketer works hard? They have goal in their mind and it is humane to feel dejected.
"But still I have not lost hope and want to keep giving my best. I am running in my 28th year and fair bit of cricket left in me. How long can my performance be ignored?" asked the pacer.