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RP Singh has certainly come a long way!

india Updated: Aug 07, 2007 03:30 IST
Rohit Mahajan
Rohit Mahajan
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Kevin Pieterson looked back at Rudra Pratap Singh in shock, for it was a delivery that could have shocked anyone.



Pitching way outside the off-stump, it seemed destined to comfortably pass the stumps, and the England star had raised his arms to let it go. Then suddenly, as if it had a mind of its own, the ball jagged back and hit Pietersen's pad right in front of the wicket.



As Pietersen looked at the umpire, clearly in a state of shock, Singh ran up the track, leapt up high and punched the air in his signature celebration style.



It was the ball of the day, perhaps the ball of the second Test at Trent Bridge. On his debut at Faisalabad last January, Singh won the Man of the Match award with five wickets — ironical, because it was a batsmen's Test, with six centuries and 1700 runs being scored for the loss of 30 wickets. <b1>



Still more ironically, Singh was not the Man of the Match at Lord's despite picking up seven wickets, five in the second innings.



Pietersen was the man who denied Singh at Lord's with that brutal hundred on the fourth day.



Pietersen was the difference between the two sides, the man India were warned to be beware of — and Pietersen was the man whom Singh dismissed twice at Trent Bridge as India won comfortably. Talking about that ball, which was perfected during his short stint at Leicestershire earlier in the season, Singh said he knew it was going to do something.



Excerpts

:



It has been a good tour so far, with 10 wickets in two Tests.


Yes, it has been a very good tour. Here the conditions are good for the swing bowlers, the ball moves a lot. The balls also are better, there is movement all day. These balls, this weather are good for seam and swing bowlers.



It's a big change from India, isn't it?


No, it's not. There is less help for bowlers there, that's true, but if you bowl with patience, and maintain a proper line and length, you can take wickets there as well.



How was the Lord's experience?

Five wickets in the second innings, and your name went up in the list of achievers there.



The experience was really very good. Taking my first fiver at Lord's, and getting my name on the board gave a very different feeling — to have your name among achievers in a place that's considered the home of cricket.



Did you really find Lord's very special? In the end, it's a ground like any other grounds, isn't it?



Well, there is great cricketing atmosphere at Lord's. There is a great tradition of the game there, a great culture. But yes, it's just a cricket ground, like any other.



Whose wicket gave you the most satisfaction at Lord's?


I enjoyed the wicket of Michael Vaughan, for he's a very good player, and I had to be very patient when bowling to him, I had to keep the ball in the right places. The ball that got Collingwood was also very good — he did not see the bouncer coming.



And the one that got Pietersen in the second innings at Trent Bridge? That swung a mile.


Yes, that was a very good ball! It swung quite a bit, more than I had expected. But I try and maintain a good line and when the ball lands on the seam, you get help from the wicket.



Did you expect it to swing so much?


Well, the ball had been swinging quite a lot, it's not that it came out of the blue. And when the ball leaves your hand, you do get an idea what it's going to do. That was a good ball, I liked that wicket because Pietersen is someone who can take the game away from you.



The Oval track is likely to be a bouncy one…


You really don’t know, people are saying a lot about the Oval track. But whatever happens, I know I have to bowl the right line and length and follow the plans.



How's the preparation? You were bowling very aggressively at the nets.


Our whole life revolves around cricket, and when one is at practice, one must give it his all. That's what our support staff helps us do, they advice us how to bowl, where to pitch the ball, etc.



Has life changed since you came into the team?


It hasn't really changed much… Rae Bareily, Lucknow, everything has remained the same for me. All my old friends are still the same with me. But you cannot keep everyone happy.



But people do change, there is greater following when you are in the national team.


Yes, but whatever happens, happens due to cricket, so people should watch cricket more than focusing on the players. Players will come and go, but the game will remain. Everything depends on cricket, everything depends on your performance when you are playing for the country.



The presence of a senior, someone like Zaheer Khan, who also is a left-armer, must have helped?


I try and learn from everyone in the team, and I try my best to follow it also. Yes, I've learnt a lot from Zaheer

bhai

.



What are your main strengths as a bowler?


I’m sure there is something in me that has brought me to this level — whether it’s my bouncer or my swing. It’s not so easy to make it to the Indian team. Yes, whatever it is, there must be some talent, some gift from God that I have!

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