Lucknow, Dec 16 (UNI) Rae Bareli's Rudra Pratap Singh and Amethi's Pankaj Singh have more than one thing in common-- while both are from Uttar Pradesh, they also represent the two of the most powerful parliamentary constituencies in Team India, which is set to take on Australia in the forthcoming cricket series.
While AICC president Sonia Gandhi represents Rae Bareli, her son and AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi represents Amethi in the Lok Sabha. Due to the VVIP status of their MPs, the two constituencies are considered politically most active in the country.
Pankaj Singh, the newly-selected pacer battery for the coming Australian tour said he will give his 100 per cent, if given a chance to play against the world champions, besides claiming that Australia would be under pressure against India on home turf.
''I will concentrate on my line and length in the tour as I have been doing in the present season,'' he said adding his speed and movement on both sides on the fast pitches of Australia would certainly give him the edge. Singh was in Lucknow earlier this week while on way to his native village of Amethi in Sultanpur district.
The right-arm medium-fast bowler from Rajasthan has progressed from the Under-19 level to the India A side with consistent performances since he made his first-class debut in August 2003. By 2006 he started showing signs of having matured, taking Rajasthan to the final of the Ranji Plate league, with 21 wickets at 20.95. In 2007, he was part of India A's twin tour of Zimbabwe and Kenya, and a total of 18 wickets in the unofficial Tests and ODIs in Kenya earned him a spot for the home series against South Africa A.
Rudra Pratap Singh first made the headlines in the Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh in 2004, taking eight wickets at 24.75 apiece and bowling well in the slog overs at the end of the innings. He made the national one-day squad at the end of 2005, and took two wickets in his second over of international cricket, against Zimbabwe at Harare in September. He took four wickets against Sri Lanka in his third game, and three more in his fourth, before a run of four wicketless matches cost him his place after the first match of the West Indies tour in May 2006.
Rudra, while talking to UNI here yesterday before leaving for Mumbai, said that he was gappling for his fitness due to which he was left out in the just concluded Test series against Pakistan.
'' I am fully fit now and will certainly lead the pace battery of the Indian attack in Australia series commencing from December 26'', he said. Rudra was the main strike bowler of the T20 winning Team India and he was the main architect to wreak the Australian side which lost to India in the semis.