A couple of years back when Pawan Negi could not find a place in the Delhi Ranji team, a DDCA sports committee official was asked about him by this correspondent.
“Kaun Pawan Negi (Pawan Negi, who?),” the official retorted. The sports committee has always had a say in selection matters of the team and it usually keeps a tab on players. Hence, the reaction was surprising.
Soon, however, the tide turned and Negi became the new kid on the block. A day before this year’s IPL auction was to take place the Indian selectors picked him for the limited-overs series in Australia and the World T20.
While the DDCA officials underestimated Negi, the selectors, it seemed, had overestimated him. The sudden graduation had an add-on effect as his value shot to R8.5 crore in the auction the day after. It was more than any other Indian player had fetched and the amount was second only to Shane Watson’s R9.5 crore.
What raised eyebrows over the uncapped player’s sudden rise to stardom was the fact that he hadn’t done anything of note on the domestic circuit. The only performance worthy of mention came way back -- a year and a half ago -- when he picked a fifer for Chennai Super Kings against Kolkata Knight Riders in the Champions League T20 final in 2014. Since then, he had been living in obscurity.
Interestingly, despite shelling out a huge amount for him, Delhi Daredevils have only called for his services sparingly. He was played in just eight games and even more surprising was the fact that he was given only nine overs to bowl during this edition of the IPL.
In the last league game that DD played, against RCB, Negi picked his only wicket of the season after conceding 19 runs in three overs. In one of the immediate preceding games, he got them over 160 with a quick 19 off 12 deliveries.
The national selectors, however, have now decided he isn’t good enough for the senior team.
From a high of making it to the team to Australia and World T20, Negi has, within a few months, been relegated to fight in domestic circuit.
Negi’s fall reads a similar script to that of his fellow former Chennai Super Kings team mate, Ishwar Pandey. Pandey was called into the national team and was part of the touring party for the New Zealand tour of 2014. Pandey failed to break into the eleven, but was picked cheaply by Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s side as an uncapped player subsequently.