Home > Features >

An open letter to Pankaj Singh

    Pankaj Singh went wicket-less in his debut match, but  impressed with his bounce and intensity © Getty Images
Pankaj Singh went wicket-less in his debut match, but impressed with his bounce and intensity © Getty Images

Despite putting up an excellent performance at Southampton, Pankaj Singh went wicketless and returned the worst-ever figures (nought for 179) on Test debut. Abhishek Mukherjee puts himself in the shoes of a few ex-cricketers who sent him a letter.

Dear Pankaj:

We have seen you bowl at The Ageas Bowl last week. You were (we want to insert an adjective here, but we thought you may be scandalised) brilliant in both innings. You ran in hard, bent your back, hit the deck, extracted bounce, and bothered the hosts on a pitch where your seniors paled in comparison.

When MS Dhoni had announced at the toss that Ishant Sharma — the man who came as a rude shock at Lord’s to expose the English inadequacy to handle bounce — had been ruled out, for once in the past six years they uttered the phrase “Ishant will be missed.”

Then they picked you. You could have made your debut in Australia five years earlier, but it was the same Ishant — who had burst onto the scene with those spells to Ricky Ponting during the series — who had kept you out. From what we have seen, you would have been more than a handful on those bouncy tracks.

Southampton offered you almost nothing from the pitch, and yet you managed to extract life from it. These will keep happening to you.  Be prepared. We have all been through this on our rather forgettable debuts. All of us had terrible starts to our Test careers. Do you know what we did later in our careers?

One of us (the West Indian who speaks in a deep baritone) had taken 14 on a flat track at The Oval and had unleashed what is widely recognised as the “Greatest Over Ever Bowled” to a great opener.

Two others (the Pakistani swing merchants) were the earliest exponents of reverse-swing in international cricket have had ridiculous spells of five for three or seven for one or more ridiculous.

Another (the one contributing from The Other World) went on to lead England, was Knighted, and has a stand at Lord’s named after him.

As for the Aussie with the slinging action, he hit the Englishmen so hard with raw pace — physically and otherwise — that The Ashes was gone by the time they realised.

The Kiwi bowled fast as well, and often lifted himself beyond his abilities; he was a destructive batsman as well, and had he not been injury-prone, he would have emerged as one of the finest in history.

As for the remaining pair, they are still the highest wicket-takers among seamers from their respective countries, and will continue to remain the same for some time now.

You see, a bad debut with the ball means nothing to us fast bowlers. We keep on bouncing back (sorry for the pun).

Best wishes,

Members of the Wicketless on Debut Club

Signed,

Gubby Allen (nought for 115 on debut)

Sarfraz Nawaz (nought for 78 on debut)

Imran Khan (nought for 55 on debut)

Jeff Thomson (nought for 110 on debut)

Michael Holding (nought for 127 on debut)

Chris Cairns (nought for 60 on debut)

Heath Streak (nought for 117 on debut)

Chaminda Vaas (nought for 80 on debut)

(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Deputy Editor and Cricket Historian at CricketCountry. He blogs here and can be followed on Twitter here.)

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 20, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Kolkata

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Dubai

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (19:00 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014 (09:30 IST)   at Dhaka

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Hamilton

More

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 24, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 72 runs

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 21, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 6 wkts

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 17, 2014  at Dharamsala

India won by 59 runs

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 14, 2014  at Visakhapatnam

Match cancelled

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 12, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Australia won by 1 run

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test at Dubai

Videos

Amla feels Proteas more acclimatised to conditions

Live Cricket Score Duleep Trophy Central Zone vs North Zone, semi-final at Mohali Day 4: Naman Ojha out for 40

Live Cricket Score Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 4: Openers extend lead on fourth morning

Live Cricket Score Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe, 1st Test Day 1 at Mirpur: Zimbabwe lose Sibanda in first over

World Cup 1992, England vs Pakistan: Three hours of rain changes course of tournament

David Warner’s transformation into a dependable and effervescent batsman

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 Duleep Trophy India New Zealand New Zealand vs South Africa New Zealand vs South Africa 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of New Zealand 2014 South Africa vs New Zealand South Africa vs New Zealand 2014

Haroon Lorgat expects WICB to sort out issue before South Africa tour

Yasir Shah delighted by Shane Warne’s tweet

Zimbabwe reach 77/2 at lunch against Bangladesh on Day 1 of 1st Test

VVS Laxman: Would love to watch ISL match during my stay in Kolkata

Wasim Bari likely candidate for Pakistan chief selector, team manager

Strangers, Brothers and Cricket— the English novelist CP Snow’s lasting passion for the game

World Cup 1992, England vs Pakistan: Three hours of rain changes course of tournament

David Warner’s transformation into a dependable and effervescent batsman

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Spin hunt continues for visitors

Sarfaraz Ahmed may have trumped the Akmals as Pakistan’s wicketkeeper-batsman across formats

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

642 Posts | 9 Fans

Virat Kohli's Family Meets Anushka Sharma

अभिनेत्री हुमा कुरैशी ओरिफ्लेम की ब्रांड एंबेसडर

Has Bigg Boss 8 made Karishma Tanna the most hated person?

Pranab Mukherjee returns home after visit to Norway, Finland

Revealed: First look of Amitabh Bachchan-Farhan Akhtar’s Do!

7 reasons why having sex during pregnancy is great for your health

Videocon Infinium Graphite with gesture control feature launched, priced at Rs 10,499

Rupee up 19 paise against dollar in early trade

Twitter introduces Audio Cards to listen to music directly from your timeline

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here