Pankaj set for challenging Australia tour

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Pankaj Singh, the new face in the Indian team for the tour of Australia, has provided Rajasthan with lots of cheer.

Updated: December 14, 2007 13:17 IST
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Pankaj Singh, the new face in the Indian team for the tour of Australia, has provided Rajasthan with lots of cheer.

If the quickie plays a Test down under, he will become the first player from the state to play for India in the longer version of the game since 1977.

The selection of Pankaj Singh, the only new face in the Indian Test squad for Australia, is a special boon for Rajasthan.

Ever since Parthsarthy Sharma played in the 1970s, no player from Rajasthan has been picked in the Indian Test team.

But now the selection of Pankaj Singh, who idolises Kapil Dev and Glen Macgrath has thrilled all cricket lovers in the desert state.

It is celebration time for Pankaj Singh and Rajasthan's cricket fraternity. Thrilled at fulfiling his childhood dream, Pankaj says it is his 26 wickets in the Ranji season and 18 wickets on the Zimbabwe tour for the India, a team that won him the selectors nod.

And now he is keen to do well in Australia to cement his place in Team India.

"I have good line length, I bowl both in-swing and out-swing, and I have good height and pace.

"Australian wickets are quite bouncy so I think they will suit my style. I think I will be able to do really well there," said Pankaj Singh.

While Pankaj's selection is a reward for hours of hard work in the nets.

It is also a sign of the better cricket infrastructure, now in place in Rajasthan. Besides one of the finest Cricket Academies in the country, the state now has Greg Chappell to coach its best youngsters.

And the RCA claims, it is their facilities that have honed Pankaj's talent.

"We have crated a new academy, good wickets, bowling machines and a modern gym. These are facilities hardly available to cricketers across the country.

"But Pankaj has enjoyed them and they have greatly helped to improve his bowling," said Bimal Soni, Deputy President Rajasthan Cricket Association.

Rajasthan has not produced a single player for the past three decades. But better facilities and specially Pankaj Singh's selection will now hopefully inspired whole generation of cricketers from the desert state to don national colours.

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