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I'm a more confident, patient bowler: RP

The talented left-arm-pacer says he has improved as a bowler during this tour.

india Updated: Feb 09, 2006 13:56 IST

Pacer Rudra Pratap Singh, find of India's ongoing tour of Pakistan, says he has become more confident and learnt to be patient after bowling on largely unresponsive pitches here.

"I have definitely improved as a pace bowler on this tour. And I have gained a lot of confidence and learnt to be patient when bowling on batting friendly wickets," left-armer Singh said.

Singh, 20, gave a glimpse of his potential when he snared four wickets in the first innings of his debut Test on a dead Iqbal Stadium pitch in Faisalabad. His potential was immediately recognised by the connoisseurs when they adjudged him Man of the Match for figures of five for 164.

If Singh were to be superstitious, he would like to believe that he would play for India for many years as the legendary Kapil Dev also made his debut in Faisalabad and went on to capture 434 wickets,thethen world record.

But Singh, who was told that he would make his debut on the morning of Jan 21 after Ajit Agarkar was injured, was blissfully unaware of emulating Kapil's debut.

The lanky Singh, however, bettered Kapil who had gone wicketless in the first innings on his debut in 1978. The Rae Bareli-based Singh finished with fine figures of 25-3-89-4 in the first innings— the best among the seven bowlers.

"I was pleasantly surprised when they gave me the Man of the Match award," he said blushing.

"Probably, the award adjudicators felt the pitch was loaded in favour of batsmen, so they rewarded a bowler," he said, referring to the six centuries scored in the drawn match.

He finished the series as the second best bowler with nine wickets, one behind Zaheer Khan.

Singh, who had made his one-day international debut against Zimbabwe in Harare in September last year, has also gained a lot by interacting with former Pakistani speedsters.

He said his interaction with former Test fast bowler Sarfraz Nawaz— widely considered to be the pioneer of reverse swing— in Islamabad on Tuesday was quite fruitful.

"He told me a few good things after having watched me bowl on the tour as a commentator," he said. "He said that my follow through could be more smooth, my pivot can improve and the arm should come down more in follow through."

Singh had also gained a lot when the Indian cricket board last year sent him to the Centre of Excellence academy in Brisbane for a six-week training on the Border-Gavaskar Scholarship.

"Both my bowling action and my fitness improved during the stint," he said. "My action became a bit more side-on with help from academy coach Tim Nielson. The change has helped my bowling."

Singh, a second-year graduation student of Lucknow University, epitomises the latest phenomenon of cricketers coming from remote corners of the country and representing India.

He was born in Barabanki, a district adjacent to Lucknow, but has spent all his life in Rae Bareli, where his father works with the Indian Telephone Industries.

Since there was hardly any cricket infrastructure in Rae Bareli, he moved to Lucknow where he attended the Sports College and Sports Hostel. Singh was soon picked in the Uttar Pradesh under-19 side and continued to move up the ranks.

In 2002, Singh was selected to train at the famous Chennai-based MRF Pace Foundation and remained there till last year. He also attended the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore.

The 2003-04 season was a fruitful one for Singh as he made his Ranji Trophy national championship debut and left an immediate impact with 34 wickets in six matches. His performance earned him a place in the Indian side for the under-19 World Cup in Dhaka, where he impressed all with eight wickets— and was picked for the tour of Zimbabwe last year.

He has not looked back since then.

First Published: Feb 09, 2006 13:56 IST