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Return of the rising star, joyful & triumphant

FROM BEING considered a ?good prospect? to becoming the mainstay of the Indian pace attack, RP Singh has come a long way. And what?s more, he has bridged the gap in a surprisingly short span of time?five months to be precise. On Monday, RP, who seems to be blessed with the knack of picking wickets and man of the match awards, arrived to a hero?s welcome in Lucknow.

india Updated: Feb 21, 2006 01:33 IST

FROM BEING considered a ‘good prospect’ to becoming the mainstay of the Indian pace attack, RP Singh has come a long way. And what’s more, he has bridged the gap in a surprisingly short span of time—five months to be precise.

On Monday, RP, who seems to be blessed with the knack of picking wickets and man of the match awards, arrived to a hero’s welcome in Lucknow.

The left-arm pacer, who could have joined the select group of cricketers who got a wicket off his Test debut delivery, (had Anil Kumble not floored the opportunity offered by Salman Butt) later told Hindustan Times that “he was on a learning curve.”

Having impressed one and all with his talent, RP said even former Pakistani greats like Sarfaraz Nawaz offered him useful tips during the Pak tour. “He told me how to improve my follow through.”

Ever since making his debut in September against Zimbabwe, RP has picked up three man of the match awards in 11 ODIs and two Test matches that he has played so far.

In his debut Test against Pakistan in Faislabad, RP, made an impression, something that was good enough for match adjudicators to adjudge him Man of the Match.

With the Man of the Match award in his kitty, RP went all out on flat Pakistani wickets in the ODIs too to take eight wickets in three matches with his best bowling performance being 4 for 35. He was easily the pick of the bowlers in the series getting his wickets at an average of 17.62—the best from India.

“The Pakistan tour was a very important one for me as I took wickets on flat tracks. I am into the learning phase of my life and playing against a world class batting line-up was a real good experience,” said RP, after reaching Gomti Nagar Hostel.

His uncanny ability to pick man of the match awards one after another has surprised many and shown the potential this young lad from Uttar Pradesh holds.
His first MoM in ODIs came in his third appearance against Sri Lanka at Rajkot in November followed by another MoM performance in Multan against Pakistan.

His effort, 4-40 off 10 overs against Pakistan in Multan, helped India register a memorable five-wicket victory and take an unbeatable 3-1 lead in the five-match series.

“Getting MoM awards, especially against Pakistan, is surely a nice feeling. When you play against Pakistan, the responsibility on you is a lot more. The pressure too is there,” RP said.

He added, “Though all the awards are dear to me, I would rate the one in the Faislabad Test as the most satisfying for it came in my debut Test Match.”

RP is now looking forward to the series against England at home. “The experience of Pak tour would come in handy,” said the former inmate of Lucknow Sports College.

Is he aware that he has become a celebrity in his home town Rae Bareli? “Rae Bareli is certainly there but I got to be there in Gonda first. My cousin is getting married and I have to be there first,” RP said with a disarming smile.

First Published: Feb 21, 2006 01:33 IST