Pankaj Singh should be given another chance to shine

Okay, so he had a tough debut. He didn’t get any wickets in both the innings. All right, but that’s Test cricket for you. It’s a tough game and one needs to be mentally strong enough to perform and succeed at highest level. I think Pankaj Singh did pretty well in achieving that.
He was unlucky a few times as Ravindra Jadeja dropped Alastair Cook at slip, which could have given Singh his first international wicket.
A LBW decision against Ian Bell was also not given by the umpire, and looking at how Pankaj appealed it clearly showed that he was desperate to get a wicket.
A veteran and workhorse at domestic level playing for Rajasthan and claiming more than 300 first class wickets, it would definitely have been disappointing for him to remain wicket-less and see his side lose the match by 266 runs.
Singh has been a prolific performer for Rajasthan in Ranji matches in the last few years and he had openly voiced his disappointment of not making the national side, despite taking wickets consistently and helping his team to reach the finals.
When the day finally came when he was selected for England tour, he saw ray of hope that hard-work always pays off, even if it sometimes comes late. Even though selectors picked him up, it was not going to be easy for him to be playing in the XI straight away.
Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami were the first choice seamers expected to play. Ishant’s ankle injury made way for Pankaj Singh to be selected for the third Test match at Southampton and it was a daydream come true for Pankaj to represent India at the highest level.
His disappointment of not getting picked for the national side, his consistent performances and good expectations might have hampered Singh to take wickets in the match, and it showed when he appealed for LBW against Bell. But it was not to be and his dream had an anti-climax.
Not every cricketer has a dream start to his career at the highest level. If he is successful then he should concentrate on being consistent, and if he failed to perform or live up to expectations, then he should be able to cope with it. I think Singh is experienced enough to handle such failure and disappointment because he has seen it all at domestic level.
It was heartening to see MS Dhoni supporting Singh’s efforts post match, saying overall he bowled well. That should be encouraging for Pankaj and he should get another game to showcase his skills.
Indian should carefully before making a decision on Singh as he needs full backing to perform well. If he is dropped for next game then it will be tough for Pankaj to regain his confidence, which could hamper his game and performance at domestic level.
Singh is 29 and should be serving the national side for a couple of years. It will be interesting to see how he will be handled by BCCI.

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