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UP strikes it big in Team India

THURSDAY TURNED out to be yet another golden day in the history of Uttar Pradesh cricket when four of its players Mohd Kaif, Suresh Raina, Rudra Pratap Singh and young leggie Piyush Chawla made it to the Indian team for the first cricket Test against England beginning in Nagpur on March 1.

india Updated: Feb 24, 2006 01:50 IST

THURSDAY TURNED out to be yet another golden day in the history of Uttar Pradesh cricket when four of its players Mohd Kaif, Suresh Raina, Rudra Pratap Singh and young leggie Piyush Chawla made it to the Indian team for the first cricket Test against England beginning in Nagpur on March 1.

Obviously, good showing in the recently concluded Ranji Trophy and Indo-Pak Series proved vital for Kaif, Raina Rudra and Piyush.

“I wasn’t 100 per cent sure of a place in the team. I always felt one’s hope dashed when he expected 100 per cent,” said Chawla over phone on his way to Gwalior on Thursday evening.

Chawla also sounded excited with the idea of sharing the Indian dressing room with his idols like Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Virendra Sehwag. “After the Challenger Series at Bangalore, this will be my second stint with the top stars of the country,” said Chawla adding, “I am eagerly waiting for an opportunity in the first Test match.”

While accepting that so far he hadn’t thought of targeting any particular batsman of the English team, Chawla said making full use of the opportunity would be his first priority.

“England players always find spin bowling a tough thing to handle, and I will try to exploit this, if given a chance,” added the young cricketer, who hails from Moradabad.

Considered as the only suitable replacement of experienced leggie Anil Kumble in the Indian team, Chawla, however, did not think there was any comparison between them. “He (Kumble) is a great bowler and I learnt a lot watching him in action. There is no question of any comparison between us as I am just beginning my career.”

“Bowling with Kumble in the match will be the biggest achievement for me and moreover, it’s my biggest dream also,” said Chawla.

He accepted that losing the ICC Under-19 Youth World Cup to Pakistan in Sri Lanka a few days back was quite disappointing for him. But he said: “It happens in the gentlemen’s game and people should learn from their mistakes.”

First Published: Feb 24, 2006 01:50 IST