With the Test team for the South African tour to be announced on Thursday, all the India hopefuls wait with bated breath to discover their fate. However, Rudra Pratap Singh, the 21-year-old pacer from Uttar Pradesh, is focused on defending the Ranji Trophy title.
As the selection committee meets in the capital, RP’s name will almost certainly be discussed, but on Wednesday, he didn’t seem like a man under pressure. He had his usual nets session with his UP teammates here, in preparation for their Ranji Trophy match against Delhi, starting on Friday.
“It’s important to keep the faith. It’s important for me to keep doing well, whether I play here or for India. I’m young and trying hard to improve every day. If I do well, I can be picked anytime,” said RP.
After the Pakistan tour, where he was adjudged the Man of the Match in his debut Test in Faisalabad, RP was also the pick of the Indian bowlers during the tri-series against Australia and West Indies in Malaysia in September. But he got only one game in the Champions Trophy — in which he failed to impress against the West Indies — and was not included in the team for the ODI series against South Africa. His place was taken by another left-arm pacer, Zaheer Khan.
But RP has taken the setback in his stride, and says he tries to figure out his weaknesses after each match.
“You can have opinions from the coach or senior players but at the end of the day, one has to sit down and figure out one’s mistakes. That’s how you develop,” said RP, who has taken 24 wickets in 20 one-day matches.
Right from his India debut early this year, RP says that he’s been picking pace. “I used to bowl at 130 kmph earlier but now sometimes I touch the 145 kmph mark.
“My seniors in the Indian team and coach Greg Chappell have been encouraging me all this while. I’m now focussing more on my accuracy, trying to adjust quickly to different kinds of surfaces,” he added.
RP believes that impressive performances on slow wickets during the Ranji season can go a long way in proving his utility to the Indian team.
Whether his name figures on the India Test team or not, one thing is certain: His first Ranji match at the Kotla would certainly make the Delhi team’s batting line-up jittery over the next four days.